Why plans are only illusions


I remember an English class in High School. The professor asked each person where they saw themselves in 10 years. Nearly everyone started their list with marriage, continued with children, a good job, a house and some concluded with a dog. Oh, and there were cars mentioned.

I said I don't know how to answer that because things rarely turn out as planned. It was taken as an rather morbid answer and wasn't received well, though it wasn't meant to be depressing. It was the only answer I could give without plain out lying. I had no idea where I saw myself in 10 years. I still don't.

"See" implies a sort of certainty, like you've decided on a goal and are working towards it. How can I be working towards something that's always in flux? Not exactly an appropriate subject for High School English class.

On a separate occasion, a classmate shared her vision of my life 10 years in the future. I will be living alone, with a cat, in a smoky apartment full of books. That, I believe, was in fact meant to be morbid, especially the "alone" part. It still sounded pretty nice to me. Except for the smoke. I am perfectly capable of opening a window every now and then.

Alone carries a stigma, but what people sometimes struggle to understand, especially extroverts, is that alone and lonely are not the same thing. I have been lonely in the past, everyone probably was at some point, but mostly I was just alone. Alone with my thoughts, alone with a book, alone with music... And very much enjoying it.

Things often don't go according to plans. Five years after the professor's question, I'm in a place I could never have guessed. I'm living half a continent from where I started, learning a new language, embarking on a completely new path... And tell you what? I'm enjoying it.

Some parts of my classmate's prophecy have come true. I live in an apartment, I am slowly filling it with books and I have a cat. However, I open windows, well, doors. The Dutch think a window is a suitable replacement for a wall, the windows don't open. And, I'm not alone. Not that there's anything wrong with being alone.

Just because things don't go the way you plan them is no reason to panic. People are always changing and life is fluid. It evolves and leads in unexpected directions. If you find you have changed, your dreams have changed, your life has changed, change your plans with them. There's no point in sticking to something that has over-lived it's time.

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