A few weeks ago, I was at Wawa grabbing coffee before making the drive from the shore back to Philly. It was early, maybe 6:45 a.m., and I was still in my just-waking-up daze. I approached the cashier to pay for my coffee at the same time as an older gentleman.
“Oh, I’m sorry, you can go,” I sort of mumble & smile.
He smiles back. It’s one of those grandfatherly smiles. “No dear, ladies first, I’m in no rush.”
I step up to the counter. “Are you sure? I really don’t mind.” (I’m polite to a fault, thanks Mom & Dad).
He laughs. “Yes, I’m certain. You worry about life too much. Don’t worry so much.”
You worry about life too much.
That phrase stuck with me during my two hour drive and for a few days later. It was such an interesting thing to say to a stranger, but that morning, I needed to hear it.
He was right–I do worry too much. I’ve always been “a worrier,” but my anxiety levels reached a new high after I graduated college. All of a sudden there was no distinct path or structure my life. Every time I looked out into the future, I saw a blank slate. My worry came from not knowing how everything was going to work out. I’m a planner at heart. Type A to a T. I like knowing the who/what/when/where/why/how in every situation I’m facing.
But that’s not how life works. And I think I’ve finally learned (accepted?) that.
Nothing ever goes according to plan, because life is all about the timing. There’s a reason you always hear “timing is everything.” This holds true for almost every aspect in life: relationships, jobs, opportunities, everything. You can have a detailed plan, the logistics all thought out, but if the timing isn’t right it just won’t…happen. At least, not yet.
I believe you’re meant to be somewhere, with someone, accomplish something, you’ll eventually get there. You may take the scenic route full of obstacles & road blocks, but eventually you’ll get there, even if it doesn’t fit with your “timing.”
It’s scary to think about because it seems like we’re at the mercy of the universe/God/karma/etc. And in some sense, we’re not in complete control. We can’t control certain circumstances. We can’t control other people or how they act/feel. We can’t control timing–it’s a Type A’s worst nightmare.
But the good thing is, we are in control how we react to certain situations. We can choose to put things into motion. We choose our actions day in and day out. For all you planners out there, I’m not saying give up wanting to control sh*t. Even with this really nice epiphany post I’m writing, naturally, I still want to control sh*t. You can still want to figure things out and plan, but just ease up just a little bit. Ease up on your expectations, plans and frustrations when things aren’t going “right.” And the amazing thing is, it only takes a little bit. If you let go just a smidge, you make room for some really cool things to happen.
As I wrote this post, I realized something kind of contradictory. Things are supposed to happen the way we least expect them to. And, in a weird way, that’s sort of what I want. When something goes exactly according to the plan I had in my head, I get a little weary. Yes, I’m a planner. Yes, you would think that if something happened exactly according to my plan, that would make me feel at ease/calm, but in reality I feel kinda let down. It all seems sort of forced. The best relationships, opportunities & moments in my life thus far have been the unexpected ones, so why am I so worried about the timing?
I’m not saying stop planning or reaching for your goals. I’m not suggesting you throw out your entire timeline and stop trying. Just be more flexible, give yourself time, space & a little bit of wiggle room. Don’t live and die by your plan. We’re in a sweet spot in our lives where there are endless possibilities. Honor where you are right now, and life will take care of the rest–don’t worry so much. &.