"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"
If there is one thing that the past few years has taught me, it's the validity of this quote. Ever since I can remember, I have been on the "non-planned plan." I mean, really, aren't we all? Even the most unplanned life has SOME sort of pre-empted pathway to follow. I think we all sort of have this life that we plan to have by a certain point. For some girls, it's that white picket fence in the suburbs and 2 kids by the age of 25. For others, it's your adventures abroad and visiting every continent before you die. Either way, you have someplace you'd like to be and some time that you'd like to be there by. There is nothing wrong with that, with having "plans." The only thing you need to realize is that even the best laid plans can go to waste. Even the WORST laid plans can go to waste. Even the non-plan plan can go to waste. Life happens, whether you try to plan it or not.
Last year I turned 26. Officially in my mid-to-late 20's. Here I am on the pathway to 30, with no looking back. Trust me, I don't see 30 as old whatsoever. But like every age, it's a milestone. And a big one at that. I think that, for me, I tend to gauge my life on where I thought I would be by now when I was a kid. Which now that I think about it, is pretty absurd considering how little I knew about life when I was younger. The naivety of those rose-colored glasses and how I and I alone was the exception to every life-rule. The innocent arrogance of it all...
Having realized how ridiculous that version of me is, 26 hit me like a bag of feathers. I embraced it and even though the 12 year-old Megan saw herself perhaps married with a kid by 26, I have never been too worked up about making certain to follow any path in particular. And I felt like the no-plan plan was working splendidly for me, nobody to look after and no life to keep in order for someone else. So the fact that I was not who I meant to be as a child meant little because who I had become was still a "planned me." I'd read all the self-help books and polished my best version of me until I shined as best I could. I had still managed to plan myself out, despite the detours along the way.
Then one day I got a call from my doctor. He told me that I had a tumor in my chest (I know I have mentioned this all to you) and that I would need to have a major surgery in the near future- which upon further exploration became the IMMEDIATE future. And the thing was, that for a 6-month period of time I was no longer Megan the 26 year-old Office Manager with brown hair. I had now become Megan the girl with the tumor and the giant scar on her chest. And obviously I get it that I am not the only person on God's green Earth that has had medical issues... but it certainly took me off of the no plan-plan and put me on the out-of-my-own-hands plan. You see, whether I took my non-plan and ran with it or not, life was happening to me. And I couldn't do a damned thing about it. It was the most humbling experience of my life.
My medical situation got to the point where I am almost fully recovered now, and I think that may have been something beyond my power as well if you catch my drift. But as I turned the corner of 27 I had another moment where I had to let go of the reigns of my own life and let it run itself. I wont get into specifics but my wonderful, amazing boyfriend of nearly 2 years has some things going on in his personal life. Just before my 27th birthday they became much more apparent and we had a forced distance that I had no control over. I remained as patient as someone can be when important facets of their lives are out of their control. And as the time went on I think things started to become more clear for me. The distance allowed me to set some limits and some boundaries that, until this point in my life, were pretty blurred. I figured out what I wanted in my life, and how much I would allow to prevent me from getting there. In the end- the things I planned for my life meant that the person I'd planned on sharing them with would not be continuing with me on that path. Of course there is that whole 'mourning process' that HAS to happen. When a relationship ends, it really is similar to a death and you have to properly mourn it in order to move on with your life. But as a result of that moment of realization a year earlier, I realized with or without my say in the matter: life was happening.
Life happens to you, no matter what. And you can choose to play it's victim or it's humble partner. It doesn't mean you should stop making plans. It means that you need to make them flexible and realize that whatever you plan can change in the drop of a hat. Who I planned to be at 12 certainly isn't who I plan to be now that I'm 27. Who I am going to be at 30, or even 28 for that matter, is a mystery. Parts of me will be planned. Parts of me will be a summation of circumstance. And that's okay. You can't get too worked up over life happening to you while you were busy making other plans.