As I sit down to write this raw and honest article, let me set the scene for you:
It’s the first week of spring break, and I am going to the beach tomorrow, but I cannot help but feel stressed because I have to take an online test tomorrow as well, before I leave for the beach, for an online course I am enrolled in. This is my second time taking this class, and I already know I am going to bomb this test, and most likely the next three, and then I will then have to take this course yet again.
Life does not always go as expected, and that’s okay.
This was my fairytale life:
I was going to go to college, meet my dream man there, get a degree that would get me a high paying job straight out of college, get married, have a few kids and, you know, live happily ever after.
That was what was supposed to happen right?
When I was a senior in high school, my soccer coach took all six seniors out to dinner one night and gave us some advice. She said, “If you have a timeline, forget it, because it is not going to happen.” I knew she had recently gotten out of a long-term relationship, so maybe she was still a little burned by that, so perhaps that was the reason she was being a little more blunt rather than saying something like, “All of your hopes and dreams are going to come true!”
It’s not that I thought my timeline would be exactly as I pictured, it’s more that I didn’t think it would be this hard and stressful. But, you know, “That’s adulthood!” says my dad.
I did not have my timeline written down, but I did have one in my head. I knew everything I wanted to accomplish and the time I wanted to accomplish it by. I wanted everything to be easy and accomplishable, but I have learned that life timelines are just the opposite. In life there are things that you can and cannot control.
Things you cannot control include when you meet your significant other. I am a walking billboard for this one. My first semester of college I really put myself out there to find a significant other but lo and behold, no one wanted to date me, and I didn’t really find anyone that peaked my interest either. Fast forward to the next semester, I was really over putting myself out there, so I didn’t, and that is when I found the man I am still dating today (over a year later!). It may have been because I was being more of myself, but I believe it was because I wasn’t looking for a relationship, I was looking to be single actually. Sometimes, the right things come at the right time and you cannot force some things to happen. Finding the man or wife you are going to marry is not on your terms. When I put myself out there to find someone my first semester, I found no one. But, when I did not put myself out there and was not really looking for a relationship, I found my perfect guy. It is all about timing.
One thing in life you can control, though, is your effort. This has been a huge realization for me in the past month. In my mind, I was going to waltz into college, put in minimal to medium effort and then walk out with a degree in my hand. College can be very hard, and the amount of effort you put into it (or anything else you do in life) can make or break how well you do. Some classes are a walk in the park, but, others, like the online class I am in now, require tedious effort day in and day out. If you put in the effort, you will see achievement and advancement.
Another thing you cannot control is life in general. Sometimes, things might not be going well for a while. Maybe you did not get the job you thought you were going to get, or you got a really bad grade on an exam you studied really hard for. Bad things are going to happen, and you cannot change that. What you can change, though, is how you get back up after you fall. “It’s not how hard you can get hit, it how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – a quote by Rocky Balboa that I have seen to be very true.
“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”
Another thing you can control in life is how hard you try. Try, try and try again. Recently, I realized I hadn’t done a lot of things I have wanted to do in fear of failing. The only way you are going to succeed is if you fail, so the only way you can fail is by not trying.
So if you, like me, feel as if your life timeline is steering a little off course, don’t worry because it was never going to stay on course in the first place. Here is my final advice: take every day day-by-day and focus on what you can control in life, and less on what you cannot control.