What I’ve Learned About Planning for the Future
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the future is completely outside of our control
I woke up this morning to see two calendar notifications pop up on my phone — one for a dentist appointment at nine o’clock in New Jersey and the other for an appointment at ten o’clock to visit a potential wedding venue in Brooklyn with my fiancé.
I knew that the two were completely overlapping plans, but it didn’t really matter anymore. I didn’t bother to cancel either of them a few weeks ago because I didn’t need to. That had already been done for me, given the global pandemic that we’re still currently going through.
And that’s how it’s been for everyone over the past two months. Plans were being cancelled left and right. Nothing was going the way that any of us had anticipated this year would go.
I look at my dry erase calendar board that’s hung up in my kitchen each day and have completely stopped crossing out the days — I used to cross an “X’ through the boxes after each day had passed. Then, at the end of the month, all I would see was rows of boxes with X’s through them and nothing written inside.
I had really high hopes for this year when it first began. I was coming off the heels of an amazing year prior — I’m newly engaged to the love of my life, I had a ton of trips planned, I was recently promoted at my job in February, and I’ll be turning thirty this year. All of these things gave me signs of more good things to come; of things pointing in the right direction.
However, this year is of course not panning out the way that I had envisioned. And as we know, life doesn’t necessarily care about what we think or hope will happen. Right now, things are sort of just on hold.
At first, I was really angry. Then, I was upset. Then, I was anxious, on edge, and borderline depressed (as I imagine many other people were too). All of the good things that I was so deeply looking forward to had suddenly disappeared into the abyss and there was no telling when or if they will come back. It was such a frustrating thing to accept.
However, after a certain point, I got tired of being so angry and upset and anxious and depressed. I stopped drowning myself in my sorrows of the unknown because frankly, all of my plans could have been cancelled without the pandemic even happening.
Other things outside of my control could have cancelled my plans. Other things could have happened. And once I realized that, I knew that it was time to let go of my frustration. It was time to stop wondering and worrying about when things would go back to normal and start looking at what I can do right now while I have the time that I have.
You see, I’ve always been a high-stress person, a worrier, a planner. I’ve always been somewhat of a control freak. (So, this pandemic wasn’t my ideal situation). I would always get so mad at the smallest things, like being a minute late to an event, accidentally overcooking a meal, or even spilling something on the floor. I’d get mad when things didn’t go the way I had planned. I’d get so mad to the point where it would essentially ruin my entire day.
And that’s what this pandemic was doing to me, except it wasn’t just ruining one day — it was ruining weeks, months. I was letting it ruin my whole life and I hadn’t stopped to think about what I could do to not let it ruin my life. I hadn’t thought to let go of the things that I couldn’t control and to take ownership of the things I could control. That was the biggest life lesson I learned through this whole thing.
Regardless of a global pandemic, things just don’t always go as planned in life. And the universe doesn’t care about whether or not you accept that. Life goes on and we just have to go on with it.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, check out “Why We Shouldn’t Stop Celebrating Just Because We’re Stuck Inside”