Stop Planning Your Life For A Second

I’m a planner. I like to know exactly what’s going to happen and the exact time the events will unfold. Once I decide I want something the wheels are set in motion and it’s off to the races. There will be hell to pay if you’re in my way and not on board with what I’ve decided is the right move. I’m not saying this because I think it’s some great way to live life or to pat myself on the back for having motivation and getting things done.On the contrary, the older I get, the more I realize it’s pretty damn unrealistic.


It’s caused me a lot of strife and heartache to have these grand, detailed ideas of how everything is going to go. Because let’s be real, life isn’t that pretty for most of us. Most normal every day people don’t have the means to keep their life floating along like some fairy tale. In fact, I’d have to imagine even those people who live the easiest of lives, probably can’t keep things on track all the time. Have you seen Keeping Up with the Kardashians? Even they have their moments. Maybe not the best example but you get where I’m going with this.


Earlier on in life these types of plans were more achievable. Less unforeseen obstacles. More just checking necessary items off the list to get them done. Picking a major and graduating from college, not exactly easy as pie but obtainable. Deciding to take on grad school and wanting it done before I’m 30, also not easy but once again doable (with lots of support I might add).  Starting a family (so this is one of those plans that was not as easy for me but I did everything in my power and my two amazing kiddos are snoring away next to me as I type. Not simple by any means but achievable with the right intervention. My previous piece blog on that topic is posted below to explain my struggles.). Finding a job I love and don’t mind showing up to every day was also something I wanted. It took a position that wasn’t the right fit to lead me to where I was meant to be, but it’s something that I could explore until I found what I wanted.


But the more plans I have made for myself, the more I’ve had to become accustomed to getting smacked in the face with reality. Life just doesn’t always pan out how we want, or how we have planned for. These can be small little changes or giant, earth shattering, can’t catch your breath disappointments that twist from the original game plan. And being in that planning mentality can make these types of shifts harder to swallow.


I’m currently in the midst of one of these moments, where you get the rug pulled out from under you. The kind that causes ugly cries when you’re alone with your thoughts and a whole mess of anger because it’s not what you wanted for yourself. But the longer I’ve been in the trenches of it, the more I’m realizing what I wanted and what I have planned for are moot points right now. Being angry about not getting my way is certainly not going to help things. Pouting and throwing a fit won’t get my plan back on track. Three year old me likely didn’t think this way, hence the giant melt downs over toys I didn’t get, or desserts I was denied. But almost thirty year old me, is just starting to realize it.


Life is tough. Being an adult is hard. Things change. People change. Situations arise that aren’t fair. Your plans may get ransacked and your dreams for how you saw your life may have to adjust accordingly. I’m not saying some epic tantrums aren’t warranted, because it’s okay to be passionate about what you want in life and be disappointed when it doesn’t happen. What I do recommend is trying to check yourself and realizing that torturing yourself daily about things out of your control won’t likely end with you getting your way. Instead, try to find whatever beauty is hidden in the mess you’ve been handed. Life is too short to do anything but that.


Go ahead and cry, it’s part of the process. Drown yourself in too much ice cream and trashy reality TV while trying to numb your thoughts. But then realize you’re worth figuring out what’s next instead of living in a reality that’s no longer an option. And then dust yourself off and plan for what’s next. Because let’s be real, no one is giving up on their hopes of what they want in life completely. It’s all about understanding the process and being open to taking the detours and speed bumps with gratitude and grace along the way.

You can follow Ali Voreis on Instagram. You can also read Ali’s last guest contribution by clicking here. 
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Dr. Heather Thompson Day is an Associate Professor of Communication, and Editor of Envision Magazine at Andrews University. She is the author of 6 Christian books including Confessions of a Christian Wife, available January 2019. You can follow Heather on Twitter or IG at HeatherThompsonDay.

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