Sometimes the best things that happen to us are the ones we least expect. That totally sounds cliché, but it’s so true! Think about it for a second: Are the things in your life, the ones you love the very most, things that went according to plan? Are they the things that you knew were going to happen right when they did? Are they the people you expected to be surrounded by? If so, you might be psychic. But if not, you’re a lot like me and you just might not recognize the beauty in the unexpected and unplanned.
As I was growing up, I was so obviously Type-A that it was slightly ridiculous (and I’m sure slightly unbearable for my parents). Do you know of any other 5 year old who refused to leave the house until her socks matched and the seam laid across her toes just right so that it didn’t rub up against the sides of her shoes? Yeah, I didn’t think so. That was me though! That little example is a perfect summary for how I expected things to work. (I know, my poor mother.) The point is, things always had to be my way. That was slightly my #onlychildsyndrome at play, but considering my older brother was my only and best friend at the time, I’m not really sure where I got off being such a #princess. Regardless, I had high expectations of just about everything. I think a lot of that was my big personality that hardly fit into my tiny 5 year old body, but even as I grew up and eventually learned how to function in the adult world, those high standards haven’t changed much in regards to what I expect of myself. What has changed as I’ve grown into my #twentysomething self is that I’ve learned an important lesson: the expectations you have for yourself cannot be transferred onto the world around you. When the things surrounding you don’t go according to your plan, let it go and move on.
I tried many times when I was still young and very naive to that revelation to control the way my world operated. I had a master plan, deadlines, and expectations of what it would all look like, but there was no room for error or compromise in my very detailed and delicate vision of what my life should be. I tried to control everything around me, so much so that eventually it all came crashing down and the world I thought I wanted was literally shattered. There was nothing I could do to salvage it or save what I once thought I had wanted more than anything in the world. It was so destroyed that I left all those tiny pieces of the life I once wanted on the floor and walked away from all of it. While that was a very difficult thing for my Type-A self to do, it was the biggest blessing. If I had stayed in that pre-conceived world I was living in, I would have never realized the beauty that lied in the unexpected all around me.
Leaving it all behind and starting over gave me an entirely new perspective on life. It was no longer something that I wanted to control, it became something I wanted to experience. Experiencing the world outside of my perfect porcelain-painted life allowed me to break boundaries I didn’t even know I had and live this life without anything or anyone – including myself – holding me back. I honestly believe that my “perfect” life would have never amounted to the one I presently spend every day crafting. The difference between the the two? I finally learned through that life-altering experience to just let go; of my expectations of others, my fears that things wouldn’t turn out perfectly, of my doubts regarding my capabilities, and that little voice in my head – I think they call it a conscious – that warned me of all the dangers that could potentially lie ahead with every decision I made. I let go of all the things that were allowing me to get in the way of myself and I stopped trying to control every little aspect of my life’s situation. I’ve never been happier.
Learning to leave the door open for the unexpected has allowed the best parts of my life to unfold. I never expected to be in such a fortunate position at such a young age. I never expected to really chase my dreams with as much inertia as I have in the last couple of years. I never thought I would be so independent and free to live, like truly live my life for exactly what it’s worth. I could have never continued so peacefully and motivated if I had stayed on my former path, trying to keep up with my unrealistic deadlines regarding aspects of my life that I had no business trying to control. So here’s my advice: if something doesn’t go the way you want it to or if people don’t turn out to be who or what you wanted them to be or if you are killing yourself trying to match up to some ungodly standard and life just keeps getting in the way of it;
let it go!
It’s much easier than the anxiety that will take over if you keep living like a control-freak. And remember, this is all coming from that same (just older) Type-A girl who still hates when the seam of her socks rubs up against her shoes. Just trust me.