Life is funny, don’t you think?
You think you have it all figured out. You may even have a plan! “By 15, I will have my first kiss. By 25, I’ will wow the world with another ‘Harry Potter’. By 35, I will win my first Nobel Prize!” Well, Malala has achieved the last one so it’s not that impossible.
If only your meticulous plans unfolded the way you wish! That would be nice and easy, wouldn’t it? Though maybe a little boring, too?
What if your plan doesn’t work out? Because plans so often don’t. What do you do then?
It would be easy to get annoyed with the universe for not letting you carry out your plans. I used to that! Or throw a tantrum and wait for someone to fix everything.
Think of the moments your plans didn’t work out. Was it because of the recent pandemic? The stupid virus ruined so many plans.
Was it because something turned out to be too expensive? Or the red-tape was too convoluted? Or just someone let you down?
Look around you
As someone whose plans nearly always have gone in a different direction, I can tell you there is a better solution to handling such situations. It is no secret, though it requires quite some work. Ready?
Embrace the curveballs life throws at you. I can hear you roll your eyes!
Yes, you are right – it is easier said than done. I would even encourage you to feel annoyed, angry, and frustrated whenever things do not go your way. Let it all out. Trust me – I get mad when things are yet again not happening as I would like them to.
But once you have let yourself feel all these emotions, raise your head, and look around.
What can you see? Can you see the new pathway in front of you? I’m sure it’s there. It may be a little obscure at this moment. You may not necessarily see where it leads, and what’s along the way. It may even be a bit scary – new things can be, can they? But here’s the thing. A new pathway invariably leads to new opportunities and adventures. A new pathway will surely be full of challenges and difficult moments, but you just take them on – one at a time. Your new pathway is yet another way to learn something new about yourself. To meet new people, strike new friendships, visit new places. And before you know it, you have a new plan. The old plan wasn’t bad – it just needed some modification.
Surfing the waves of life
Neil Patrick Harris often quotes a conversation with Steven Bochco (the director of “Doogie Houser, MD” that Neil starred in as a teenager) had with him that has had a profound impact on how he sees his life and actor’s career.
Steven compared an actor’s life to surfing. In surfing, it’s great when you are on a wave. You keep your balance, you dash forward, the view is spectacular.
But the wave will crash eventually – that’s what waves do. So you end up in the water, trying to keep your head above it… and looking out for the next wave.
And that’s the beauty of waves, isn’t it? There will always be another one – you just need to give yourself time to figure out how to catch it, and then how to ride it for as long as it is possible.
And once you’ve been on many waves, you learn to navigate them, and you’re not so scared any more of you ending up in the water time after time.
When life throws your curveballs, it’s easy and understandable to be discouraged or frustrated. It’s ok to be unhappy. Trust me – I have been there. Many times. And boy am I annoyed every single time the universe goes “Let me mess up your plans”.
But don’t let that last for too long. You will only lose your energy on something that doesn’t move you forward.
Moreover, you become better and better at handling life curveballs. Ironically, the more often your plans get thrown out of the window, the better you become at dusting yourself off and walking down the new pathway. Life is funny, isn’t it?
So look around you. Embrace the curveballs, and don’t be afraid to surf another wave. You can do it.