“Stop. Stop planning. Be present,” this is something I have to remind myself constantly about micromanaging my future. Maybe it’s an effect of being a senior in college, or maybe it’s just my personality but I cannot help but constantly measure myself by the benchmarkers that I have or have not hit.
Did you email that company back? You need the lead position for that club--it would look really great on your resume. They already got an interview with that company? I must be behind. Am I not smart enough? Not hardworking enough? These questions are played on a loop in my head like a constant fast-forward and rewind both pushing me to work harder and paralyzing me with the terrifying fear of future failures.
I think that in life we have an idea of when we want to achieve certain things. The concept of time can be crippling. “If I don’t have this job by the time I’m 25, I must be failing,” “If I’m not married by ‘this age’, there must be something wrong with me,” and the list goes on. The truth is, we all have our own timeline. Comparing my successes to those of my peers won’t bring me anything but anxiety. How must we conduct our life if we are constantly comparing it to that of someone else’s?
Planning is not bad. Achieving goals is important--they, among other things, are what boost our confidence and push us to keep working hard. However, most of my favorite moments have come from serendipitous situations. When I turn to my sister and say “let’s go on an adventure,” and end up driving miles up the Delaware coast until we decide we should probably head back. Those mornings when you and your friends are sitting around laughing in hysterics about the night before and all of the crazy things you got yourselves into. When your song (All the Small Things) comes on in the bar and you jump up and down until you’ve hit your step count for the day; the unplanned moments that make you feel happiness quickly rising up in your chest.
When I feel myself over-planning, I try to remind myself of these little anecdotes: life’s greatest moments are unplanned. Your measure of success is not the same as anyone else’s, so stop comparing yourself. Inner peace comes from working hard and having faith. A lot of things in this wonderful world of ours are out of our control, so laugh it off and enjoy the ride. I have a feeling that everything is going to be just fine.