“Today, I want you to write about an important cause. Write about Gandhi or MLK; quote Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama. Help us see what you see – what’s broken in the world that needs fixing.
This is different from a manifesto. It should be a personal appeal to our emotions, a stirring of the spirits more than a call to action.
Tell us why your cause or organization matters. Help us connect with what it takes to make a difference. And then, yes, you probably should call us to action.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get on with changing the world.”
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one waiting for us.” (Joseph Campbell)
When I was about eleven or twelve, my whole life was thrown off-kilter. It may sound dramatic, looking back on it, that I was that young, and my life changed that dramatically, but it did, and I can’t change that. My grandpa died suddenly of colon cancer, and my best friend had decided that she no longer wanted to be best friends with me. The world began to feel like a lonely, dark place, and all of a sudden, all my plans were thrown off course. I remember writing a few years later, that life was kind of like the chair I had next to my dresser, normally, it had clothes folded neatly on it to wear for the next day, but the days I woke up without clothes folded neatly on that chair, it sent me into a frenzy of having to pick out my clothes or find the clothes to wear. Things were no longer planned, and it threw me off-course. It’s not a perfect metaphor, but it made sense to me at the time.
I still feel a lot of regret for my life being blown off-course, not simply by my grandpa’s death and my best friend ditching me. Those things hurt less the farther I get away from them, yet I think a lot of people can relate to the fact that life doesn’t always go the route they expected. This happened to me a lot when I was younger. Life kept getting thrown off-course, and it was frustrating to accept this other new life. However, what if we were willing to accept that our lives are never going to go as planned? That the plan we have for ourselves is more of a demarcation line in the sand. Waves can come barreling down over that line and erase it anytime. Nothing in life is guaranteed. It’s all merely a suggestion, but if we allow ourselves to adjust and readjust, according to what life throws at us, it’s not nearly as scary when things don’t work out like we imagine them to.
I think I’m finally willing to accept that the plan I once had was not exactly a plan, and that it can change at any given time, and by accepting that, I can truly see the beauty of everything unfolding around me. Instead of beating myself up for not going down the prescribed plan I had intended for myself, I can cherish what I have discovered along the way: love, beauty, happiness, a completion in some of the broken bits, but most of all, the fact that life doesn’t have to fit the initial plan to be beautiful.