It’s okay to not be where you thought you were going to be.
People get too focused on their future rather than really experiencing life as it happens.
I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have a plan set for their future.
Rather, it’s easy to get hyper-focused on that plan.
You lose sight of what you’re doing at the moment.
This is something that I’m guilty of myself.
I love having a plan, and I am constantly thinking of ways I can get closer to that future goal.
However, I’m not always enjoying the moment because I’m so busy thinking about what’s next, or what more I could be doing.
This can be problematic.
I’ve found myself so stuck on one plan that it’s hard for me to see that there are other options out there.
Recently, I came to the realization that what was my plan for my future isn’t going to work out the way I originally saw it.
Rather than being able to go straight into the masters program I wanted to, I’ll probably have to take a couple years off.
Even then it’s likely I’ll need to consider different programs.
That was hard for me to wrap my mind around because I had just spent the past couple of years thinking that this was the only route for me.
I had gotten so focused on getting to that end goal, that when I realized I wasn’t proceeding at the pace I originally planned,
I felt like a failure.
I felt like I was never going to accomplish what I wanted to.
I felt like all the people who had taken the time to mentor me and help me towards that goal were going to be disappointed.
I felt like I’d failed them too.
It was a lot for me to come to terms with.
Because I’ve been so focused on that one future path, I’ve put so much of myself into that.
It’s what I’ve centered my life around for the past few years.
Now that it’s no longer looking like I’ll be able to follow that path, I feel like I’ve lost a sense of who I am.
I’ve found myself getting so focused on where I’m not, that it’s getting hard to even see a future where I am successful in the field I want to be.
I find myself getting frustrated a lot quicker with myself, and it makes it hard to productively work towards that goal.
I’ve found that I’m not enjoying my learning as much as I had previously because I feel so defeated about where I’m at.
It’s been getting to a point where I no longer enjoy doing what I once loved doing.
At one point I spoke with one of my professors about it, and he gave me some valuable advice.
He told me that there wasn’t only one door for me.
Even though all the people I really admired had done things that way, it didn’t mean I also had to.
Looking back now that seems obvious.
Sometimes, though, you need to hear it from someone else.
I think that if rather than thinking about the future the whole time, and instead I focused on the experiences I was having and how I had still grown over the past few years, this wouldn’t have been such a hard realization.
It’s hard to break that mindset when I’ve been so focused on one thing for so long.
It’s something that I continuously work on.
Reminding myself that it’s okay that I’m not where I thought I would be, as long as I am still growing.
I try and look back and think of how proud younger me would be because I’m doing things now I never thought I would.
We need to learn to be more patient with ourselves and remember that, at the end of the day, your path is yours alone.
It’s okay to go a different route than you originally imagined and to just enjoy the experiences you have along the way