Life, I have discovered, hardly goes according to plan.
Now, this is extremely vexing for someone like myself who is in fact a huge planner.
However, if I look back at the ‘life plans’ I had for myself at the ages of 13, 16, 18, 20, even 25… they were all so different from each other, and vastly different to what I would want now.
Chances are that if any of THOSE plans had worked out, today I would be miserable.
So I didn’t meet the man of my dreams when I was young and careless, completely naive and all innocence.
So I didn’t end up getting married and having 6 kids before the time I turned 26. (THANK THE LORD!)
So I didn’t figure out what my ‘dream job’ was when I began university, nor did I start a career before I was 25.
So I didn’t end up having the husband, the house with the white picket fence, the car, the golden retriever, some smelly hamsters, kids and a soccer-mom van.
So I didn’t end up making a ton of money.
I have had no real romantic relationships that ever lasted very long.
Definitely do not have kids.
Unfortunately no golden retriever or smelly hamsters either.
No soccer-mom van (not particularly sad about this one).
And sadness of all sadness: no white-picket fence. I don’t live in America, and I’m not living the American dream.
But this is what I’ve realized:
Those dreams were never my dreams.
They were dreams created for me by the church, by society and by general expectations of women.
As controversial as it sounds, I don’t want any of that.
None of it.
I’m not even sure I want kids.
And furthermore, I am tired of people trying to make me feel ashamed for not wanting those things.
I’ve finally realized why my plans have never worked out: BECAUSE THEY WERE THE WRONG PLANS!
I’ve slowly been cutting myself off from these expectations, and people who impose these expectations on me… and it’s the most freeing thing in the world.
I finally feel like I can breathe again. And for the first time in my life: My dreams are starting to come true.
WHY? Because I finally allowed myself to dream a dream that was TRUE to ME and no one else.
AND THIS IS HOW I FOUND THAT DREAM:
I was burnt out, angry, hurt, disappointed, heartbroken and confused.
I had done EVERYTHING right my entire life – never a toe out of place.
But nothing had worked out. My heart had been crushed by too many men making empty promises, and by too many ‘holier than thou’ people making even emptier promises.
So one day, I sat on my bed with my journal. It was raining outside and I had my hot cup of coffee with me (mmmmm…!).
I lay down on that bed, closed my eyes, and for the FIRST TIME in my life, I allowed myself to dream of a life that I wanted – and not what was expected of me.
It was beautiful. It was unknown to me. I had no idea how to get to that place or be that person that I dreamed of.
But step by step, choice by choice, I consciously made decisions directed towards getting me to that place.
And what do you know? Several years later, I’m finally there.
I’m starting to actually live out my dream, and I’m loving it.
Find your own life, and you will find that that life will be far greater than anything others could possibly have planned or expected for you.
I’m done trying to be perfect and trying to live a life that is expected of me.
I WANT TO BE REAL.
TRUE TO MYSELF.
Sure, life is and never will be PERFECT.
It’s messy and you can’t always control it – but it sure as hell is better now than what I thought it would ever be like.
I’ve learned to embrace the messy; the heartbreaks, the lack of surety, disappointing people (not intentionally of course), being disappointed by people, gaining friends, losing friends (this one sucks, but it happens – usually when you don’t see eye-to-eye on certain things), and all those unpredictable curveballs that come along with life.
I’ve learned to bounce back in all of these situations. Because I’ve learned that I would rather love everyone I meet deeply, and get hurt by some of them, than guard my heart from all of them.
I’ve also realized that I’d much rather throw my passion into my work while chasing my dreams (and maybe not get the reward I was hoping for) than to work with no passion or dream at all.
BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT BEING ALIVE MEANS!
So, if you find yourself in a place where life just hasn’t worked out the way you thought it would, if you feel burnt out, heartbroken, angry, disappointed or confused… then take a moment – just a moment – to lie on your bed and allow yourself to dream of the life you’ve never allowed yourself to dream before, and of the person you want to be.
Forget expectations (unless you are married with kids and/or people are depending on you – those are expectations you cannot neglect).
Find YOUR dream.
Make plans that make you feel alive.
And let every decision and choice direct you towards that dream and becoming that person.
Let the love for your God, for people, and your loved ones be the guidelines by which you live your life – not the social and religious expectations that are placed on you!