Hana Shafi When You're Busy Making Plans...

Everybody seems to have plans. Career plans, marriage plans, plans to have kids; by 27, this salary, by 30, married, by 35, two kids. Some create plans a little less rigid, but nonetheless create these goals in their head that they’ll have accomplished certain things by a certain time frame. I certainly don’t think goals are a bad thing, but it’s been said that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, and I’ve always tried to live by that. 

Talk to any person in their 50s, hell talk to anyone in their 20s, and they’ll probably tell you that their life hasn’t gone according to plan. People end up in careers that their degrees aren’t even related to, meet people they never thought they’d meet, or end up halfway across the world. The point is, life takes us in directions we never thought possible, but we can’t fully appreciate these twists and turns if we remain hell bent on some set plan, some expiry date for all of life’s big milestones. Life is not meant to be planned with some kind of mental Excel spreadsheet. If we create these huge expectations that we are dead set on, then life is more likely to disappoint you. 

Of course, I understand the need to set goals. There’s no doubt that having ambitions is important, working towards achieving a dream, and putting your heart and soul into something. There’s also a certain kind of stability when it comes to making plans. While I’ve always favoured unpredictability, it’s not something you want in every facet of your life; for example, not being able to know when your next pay cheque gets to you is not the kind of unpredictability I’m okay with. 

But nothing in life should be done in excess, and that includes goals. While it’s important to know what you’re working toward, it’s also equally important to be okay with the fact that things in your life are going to change. I mean let’s be real here, which night is more memorable, the one where everything went as planned and you went to that restaurant and saw that movie after, or the night where you randomly ended up drunk in an underground parking lot attempting to play tag with your friends and hugging some person you’ve just met while ecstatically proclaiming that they’re the best person ever!? 

Point is, it’s not the times when things when exactly according to plans that stick out in your memories, it’s the craziness, the spontaneity, the unexpected moments that life throws at you that you remember. Plans aren’t bad, but fearing any deviation from it is. Life will take you down some crazy roads, but isn’t that what makes life worth living? So take a chance, even just small ones like talking to someone new (unless they’re wearing a red and green striped sweater and a fedora, then you should avoid them). 

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