Wednesday, May 25th, 2005 • No Comments on Life Happens
I believe in the power of writing things down. I believe that words written on a page or typed on a screen can take on a life of their own and come true. I also believe in self-fulfilling prophecies and karma and fate and paying attention to signs. I guess that makes me a little flaky, but since I also have a practical, cautious nature, I think I’m a pretty well-balanced flake.
I’ve never done well with life plans. Things have a funny way of not working out the way I intend (sometimes in the best possible ways) and long-term planning leads to disappointment when goals aren’t reached by a specified time limit. There is very little about my life that has turned out as I have planned or predicted along the way. Still, as I contemplate turning 40 in two short years, it’s impossible to resist the urge to map out my future.
It’s a hard thing to accept that we sometimes have little control over our own lives. I think that’s why those five (ten, twenty, life) plans are so popular—they give us an illusion of control that doesn’t exist. It’s comforting to write down our goals, as if by writing them down we can avoid all the hurts and heartaches and disappointments of life. Of course, it’s those awful, painful events that sometimes bring about incredible and meaningful changes. But no one is writing “catastrophic illness,” “divorce” or “job layoff” into their life plan, are they?
I have written a “By 40” plan for myself with the goals I hope to achieve in the next two years. I like knowing which direction I’m headed, even if there are side roads and detours along the way. Things will no doubt come along to change my plans and reality will bear little resemblance to what I’ve written, and that’s okay. The idea that my life might go as planned is exciting… but so is the realization that it won’t.