Should you live life according to your plans or should you adjust your plans according to the life you live?
One of these days, I was teaching a class on the future tense to my teenage students. I asked them to write letters to their future selves as a way to create a fun new dynamic in these very boring times of Zoom classes.
The result was amazing.
There’s no student older than fifteen in that class, and yet all of their letters included their hopes of having a family to support in ten years. One of them, a thirteen-year-old boy, even went on to say that he’d be an Army doctor. Deployed. At twenty-three.
I find it amazing how hopeful all of them were that life would magically resolve itself as early as their early twenties. It got me back to the times when I was the one dreaming of a future as simple as that. At some point, I too thought I’d be a married mom, with a successful career, at twenty-three.
I’m now on the verge of turning twenty-eight, and I am nowhere near being a mom — or being married, for that matter. Careerwise, I’d rather not even discuss my current situation.
But I can’t say I’m completely lost. I’ve made plans, I’ve set goals, I’ve traced paths… I just haven’t gotten there yet. Wherever “there” might be.
I have a notebook that reads Dreams & Schemes on its light blue cover. I used to write down some of my plans for the future there. At 20, I left Brazil to follow my dream of becoming a writer. I started planning my life then.
Around 24, the US kicked me out when my vise expired, and, suddenly, my life plan had gone to waste.
That happened quite a lot. I made plans, and they crumbled. I made new plans, and they crumbled too. Nothing ever seemed to work out the way I imagined it to. So I was always having to reinvent myself.
I’ve been adjusting my plans according to what life presented to me this whole time.
And it has led me nowhere.
It has made me frustrated about all aspects of my life, but mainly my career — which has been hit the hardest. Every time my plans fell through, I redirected, instead of finding new ways to get to my goal.
I’m not sure this is the best strategy, but from now on, I intend to adjust my life to my plans. Being reactive is no longer enough. I need to act towards my goals and not wait around for life to finally allow me to get there.
Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods.
I'm not changing my goals anymore. Yes, some adjustments might still be needed on how I'm reaching them, but I'm going to be stubborn about what I want now.
No more altering the destination. When roads are blocked, I'll find my way around it to get back on track.