Ever since I can remember, I’ve had my life all mapped out, creating this perfect storyline for my future… “This is the career I will have, this is where I am going to live, these are the trips I’m going to take, these are the best friends I will have forever, this is the man I will marry, this is when I will reproduce a mini-me, this is where I will retire and live happily ever after” — all plans and dreams that I cherished and nurtured, holding close to my heart. I called it my interior blueprint and I would often refer back to it, to ensure I was on the “right” path.
For the most part, I did manage to stay on script, but this past year in a matter of seconds, my life path took a very sudden and unexpected turn and I learned very quickly (at the tender age of 33), that not everything will go the way we imagined or hoped for. Whether it’s our job, our health, or love life, the universe may have something completely different in mind for us, and it could shake us to the absolute core…really bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “throwing a wrench into the works”.
So, when we are pushed off that familiar and well thought out path, what do we do? Some unexpected twists can create a minor ripple in our lives, while others go a lot deeper and really stir things up, changing the entire storyline and direction of where we were going. We encounter things that we couldn’t even imagine happening to us and end up dealing with situations that really weren’t “supposed” to take place (definitely not in the storyline). Suddenly plans are changed, while some totally disappear.
Now my story….it’s not more upsetting than anyone else’s, I survived…(and I think we all experience a detour of some sort one way or another), but the initial shock left me feeling unsure of what to do, uncomfortable, insecure, and for the first time in my life, completely clueless of where my path was headed. 110% lost…even more lost than Jack Shephard. And the worst part of it all, it was by circumstance and completely out of my control. There was no easy fix, no band-aid, nothing I could do to change it.
Unfortunately, life definitely doesn’t come with a re-set button or three magic wishes, but as timed passed, I figured out that you can give your personal life a fresh start anytime you choose. When the unexpected happens, it’s really about how we respond to it- you know, that whole premise about life being 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it. Sure, it would be nice to control our destiny, and ya failures and setbacks might feel like the absolute end, but they could actually be a new beginning— glass half full, Amanda!!
Easier said then done, right? Tell me about it. So weeks continued to march on, as did the valiant efforts from my friends and family to cheer me up, and I continued to be bombarded with lines like “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” (ya maybe if you are Beyonce and have a support squad of one million), “when one door closes another door opens”, or my absolute favourite (note the sarcasm), “time heals all wounds”. Just an FYI, it can be extremely difficult (not to mention annoying AF) to hear those things while you wrestle with mega life letdowns, BUT as I started to see the clouds part ways, I figured out these clichés all came from somewhere…people came up with them for a reason and they were in fact proving to be true.
Time does make things easier and brings everything into perspective. Sure, you will still experience sucky moments in relation to whatever situation you are dealing with, but with time they will arise less and less and you will start feeing better—I promise; And eventually one day without even noticing, you will find yourself smiling and skipping down the sidewalk (and it won’t be because you drank a Long Island Ice Tea from The Sovereign Room), it will be because you accepted the unexpected.
Be patient. And in the meantime, be brave and ride out what ever feelings you’re going through because you may just discover what you are truly searching for. This does potentially mean being perceived as broken (and or missing), having to support yourself, and giving yourself high-fives for something as simple as taking a shower… but be brave. And maybe, just maybe, what you planned really wasn’t what was meant for you moving forward.
Up until the last year of my life, I really believed that having a long-term plan was important, but now I understand that sometimes you really just have to let life live through you and be grateful and appreciative of the good. Keep your goals but embrace change. Life is constantly renewing itself, so accept what is, no matter how hard and difficult it might be. Trash the milestone check list!
Now go, Bay Awesome. xo
Photography by DZ Photography.