Today I thought I’d do something fun and a bit different by sharing a part of a book I am writing. I felt this portion was pretty relevant to this blog. It comes from the intro chapter.
I wished it was raining.
I was on my way to college graduation rehearsal. If it was raining, I would maybe have had an excuse for being late. Instead it was sunny and traffic was thin.
Always late with few excuses. Story of my life.
As I kicked my rusting Ford Taurus into high gear, the ringtone to my phone sounded off beside me. Unknown caller. Never answered calls from strangers.
About a minute later, I saw I had a voicemail sitting in my inbox. Taking the phone in my free hand, I played the message. It was from a Panera Bread I had just applied to. They were calling to inform me they weren’t hiring at the time. Panera is predominantly staffed by high school students, and they had just shot me down.
I was a week away from graduating college with a four year degree, and I just got rejected by Panera Bread.
Suddenly, I didn’t especially care about being late to rehearsal. I didn’t really care about much of anything. I simply wondered how I ended up in this current predicament.
See, I grew up seeing life as a checklist: be born, go to school, graduate school, go to college, graduate college, start a career, get married, have a few kids, retire, die.
If that isn’t a list to get excited about, I don’t know what is. It started so easy. I don’t even remember my birth. The first thing I remember is running circles around my back yard.
As for school, it wasn’t exactly hard. Some people cry on their first day of school. Others are homeschooled and never experience that fear. I went to public school and actually enjoyed most of it. Oh sure, sixth grade was sort of awful, but besides that, I had lots of friends, I was involved in everything, and made all sorts of memories. Best of all, once I made it through high school, I got to experience step three:
Imagine all your friends throwing parties at the exact same time. There is punch, cake, those shiny little confetti pieces, and you get money from people you don’t even know. It kind of made the whole “school” process worth it. Best of all, I was free. As I stood a high school graduate, I realized the rest of my life was before me. It was time to choose a college which would lead to a career and all the other wonderful things on my life list.
The problem was I had to choose.
Not wanting to miss the next step in my life, I quickly chose a college and went. It was fun, exciting, and completely not for me. The next year, I would choose a different college and stick with it. I learned a lot, made great friendships, and developed my skills as a writer. Four years later, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (Writing).
Unfortunately, this is where the whole “life plan” train went completely off track, flipped on its side, crashed through a small town, and destroyed everything in its wake.
The only guarantee in life is that there are no guarantees in life. I hate clichés, but it’s true. I knew what I wanted to be going through college, and I thought I had a job lined up for my post-graduate life. Apparently it didn’t matter. I graduated jobless and flat broke with school loans knocking at my door like a visage of Death himself (assuming Death is male) . I felt crippled, scared, and a tad bit lost.
And I couldn’t push on. I couldn’t ignore what was happening. All I could do was wonder how did I get here?
From there, the book acts as a guide of what NOT to do. There’s many stories from many people that are included.
But here’s what you can get from this segment. Life, more often than not, does not go as you plan it to go. The best you can do is prepare for the worst and keep moving forward when things fall apart.
I’ll tell you right now, two years ago I wanted to just give up. But I kept going.
Then things got worse.
And I kept going.
Now, two years after this whole ordeal happened, I say with great relief that I feel so much better about my life. I’m still fighting to move forward. I’m still struggling.
But I’m getting there. And that’s enough to put a smile on my face.
Has your life’s plan ever ran straight into a metaphorical wall? Have you ever been paralyzed by disappointment? If so, feel free to share below. Or, contact me about writing a guest post! (Click here to get in touch)