Life is What Happens When… Well, you know the rest.

Well, it’s been far too long since my last post. Sorry about that, friends. I’m mostly saying sorry to myself because I promised I would do better to keep up with writing. But it’s okay. I’m here now and I’m writing, so I feel a little better about it. I’m working on making sure I write, even when I feel like I don’t have the energy to do it. So, I’m promising again.

But anyway.

One of the worst parts about being in your 20’s is the concept of PLANS. Now listen, I am a human who loves to plan. I love having a schedule. I love writing things down in my daybook to keep track of when and where I have to be. Everything is colour coded and recorded. I don’t love when plans change but I’m learning to roll with the punches. I’ve always felt that it’s good to have a plan, because then if things don’t go as planned, at least you’re already semi-armed to deal with it and come up with a solution. You can’t have a Plan B without a Plan A, you know?

But here’s what I’ve learned: things never go according to plan. Ever. (Okay, maybe not totally never, but you get my point.) I’ve learned since being a “grown-up” that plans always change, and sometimes there’s no way to predict which way the wind will blow the circumstance.

While I’m a person who loves to plan ahead, I also find it exhausting and mildly terrifying to need to have my entire life planned out. I remember feeling that way before even going into highschool. It starts when we’re toddlers – “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You could have asked me that question on any day of the week when I was little and I would have a new and more fantastical answer every time. I want to be a Jedi. I want to be a Princess. I want to be an Athlete. I want to be Prime Minister. I want to be Lizzie McGuire. I want to be a Hobbit. I want to be a Doctor. I want to be a Firefighter. I want to be an Astronaut. The list goes on… and on…. and on. My dreams were big; they still are, to be honest.

We plan out what courses we need to take in grade nine in order to have the appropriate prerequisites to take the courses we want to take in grade ten, so that we can take the courses we need in grade eleven in order to take all of the classes we’ll need to in grade twelve, so that we can get into the program in post secondary that we want to, so that we’ll be able to get a good job, so that we can make enough money, to send our kids to post secondary. It’s a lot of big decisions to be making while being 13 years old. We can barely see through the fog of puberty far enough to decide what we’re going to do with our friends on the weekend, let alone what career we want to head into for the 50+ years that we’ll be in the workforce for. Yeah. It’s a lot of planning. Not to mention how many times I changed my mind about a career path between the ages of 15 and now.

I knew in grade ten that I wanted to go to Wilfrid Laurier University for the Religion and Culture program. Then, I thought I would move on to a school like Tyndale to do an MDiv, and then continue on into working in church ministry. That’s not what happened. I added Medieval Studies as a major, and was smacked in the face with the truth that I should probably be a teacher. Not a super great plan considering the current job market for ladies who teach English, History, and Religion; a far cry from the promise we all heard growing up, that having a degree would “get our foot in the door”, and would provide us with an endless abundance of opportunities. But I digress.

After all of this, there’s the question that twentysomethings dread: “So what do you plan to do with your degree?” (Or in my case “What can you even do with that degree?” LOTS OKAY. LOTS.) For most of us, the answer to that question is: “I have not a single blessed clue, Karen. What are you guys planning on doing about the economy and terrifying housing market?” My answer is this: I DON’T KNOW. I HAVE BEEN IN SCHOOL FOR THE LAST SEVENTEEN YEARS AND ONLY HAVE EVER BEEN A STUDENT. I’VE NEVER DONE, AND DON’T REALLY KNOW HOW TO DO ANYTHING ELSE SO PLEASE STOP ASKING. Listen, I absolutely know that people mean well when they’re asking these kinds of questions and are just trying to make pleasant conversation. The trouble is that we’re all still trying to make sense of the idea that we might not ever work in the field that we studied in school, and figuring out what the hell we can do instead, when there is a serious lack of jobs.

My life has not at all gone how I “planned” it to. I’m not pursuing the career I planned on. I’m not currently pursuing the further education required for me to even think about pursuing the career I’m currently planning on entering. I didn’t plan on moving back home after being done with school. I didn’t plan on much of what’s going on in my life right now.

And what I’ve learned after considering all of this is that I need to practice letting go. That’s one of the best lessons any of us can learn from being twentysomethings. I need to learn to let go of things not meant for me. I need to learn how to recognize these things and have the strength to walk away from them, or watch them go, with confidence that something new is coming. I need to learn to let go of my plans and the need to control how things pan out. It hurts, always. It’s hard, always. It’s exhausting, always. But I’m learning. A Jedi must learn to let attachments pass in and out of their life freely. (I just finished reading the books, so just give me this one). And it’s okay. I’ll be okay.

I’ll make plans. They’ll change. And I’ll rebuild them.

Plans change. People change. And it’s all okay.

Love Always,

Emma Cate


2 thoughts on “Life is What Happens When… Well, you know the rest.

  1. I ended up coming across this post and through reading it I felt it spoke to me. I used to be really anxious about “what’s next” for me. I found that there were two key people that helped me get through that anxiety.

    The first is Neil Pasricha who said:
    “Look, we’re all going to get lumps, and we’re all going to get bumps. None of us can predict the future, but we do know one thing about it and that’s that it ain’t gonna go according to plan.” He’s got a great TED talk:

    The second is John Green who so eloquently put what it feels like to make choices and have it feel like your options narrow, but who goes on to state how adult life isn’t one note.

    I don’t have the answers to how to deal with the unkown of what comes next, but when I start to worry I think of what John & Neil have said and I don’t feel as worried anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

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