Why Making Life Plans Sucks

Hey, you with the vision board and 10 year life plan...toss it in the trash. Life plans aren’t such a great idea, for many reasons.  I don’t mean small-scale planning out your day or week; that’s great and super helpful to stay organized and on task. Especially as a college student, it's important to have an idea of how you'll tackle your responsibilities.  I’m talking about the long-term life plans that make you set super high, unrealistic expectations for yourself. Those are the ones you should toss.

When I was 6, my plan for high school was roughly based off of Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez’s whirlwind romance in High School Musical.  I wanted to have the best grades and be the head cheerleader, dating the quarterback of the state championship winning football team. Reality is, I was a good student because I worked hard. I was the captain of the cross country team, involved in school organizations, and volunteered in my community.  I was not the head cheerleader and not only did I NOT date the quarterback of the football team, I didn’t date anyone.

My high school plan went off the rails not because I wasn’t determined or goal-driven or focused, but because I wasn’t the same person at 14 that I was at 6, and it’s a good thing it did; because the experiences I had made me the person I am today at 18. The notion that you live your life based off of some plan or idea you have for the future leaves no room for spontaneity, adventure, anticipation, or excitement. I don’t want to know what is going to happen to me in 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.. how boring. Life shouldn’t be something you check off your to-do list, it should be lived in the present. Spending your days working toward a life plan catapults you into the future, which leaves too many missed opportunities in the present. Being too focused on a life plan that you think looks good on paper could cause you to miss out on experiences that could change the trajectory of your life ….or you could stumble, but either way, it’s more exciting than waking up every day knowing what to expect from yourself.  Being present and open to new opportunities as they arise is so much more impactful than checking off the boxes of your life plan. Spend time on you instead of always focus on the bigger picture and how this one class or test relates to your entire life. Focus on working hard, doing well in school, and being proud of your accomplishments – then move on to the next thing.  Because honestly, did that biology test in 11th grade that you didn’t do well on really screw your life up that much? College is a great place to open yourself up to new things, new people, and new experiences. Just because you didn’t plan on joining this club or that group doesn’t mean you can’t...unless your life plan tells you you can’t...then you miss out, and it’s all your life plan's fault.

Call me crazy, but my advice is to wing it.  Yes, wing it.  Do what makes you happy in the moment and don’t always be so focused on the long term.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying throw caution to the wind and just see where the wind takes you. It’s important to have dreams and goals and to always be working toward something, but not to extent that you can’t see other opportunities or experiences that can be had. Be present, be aware, and be happy with where you are in your life and who you are as a person.  The rest will come later, as everything comes with time.  You can’t plan what you don’t know. Wing it and you’ll see just how great it is to be free. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.