5 Things More Important to Have than "a Plan"

I never had a plan. It dawned on me as I sat at a job I never thought I’d have in a town that I never thought I would live in again about to go train for a sport I had never imagined I’d love. Seeing the trend here?

Rewind to mere high school days: I knew I had to go to college, I knew I needed to get good grades and be involved and make memories and blah blah blah. You know the drill. But I think in my 17-year-old brain, before I launched myself into college life and the true beginning of adulthood, I just figured I’d become...enlightened? Even being so close to my twenties at that age, that felt like a different level of adulthood, and that upon entering into my twenties, I would suddenly have a deep-seated understanding of what to do with my life. You know, “a plan”.

LOL. Yeah right.

Now at 24, quickly approaching 25, I realize:

  1. I am nothing more than a glorified toddler, and that’s on a good day.
  2. Having “a plan” is not nearly as important as people make it out to be.

I’ve learned a handful of things that are far more important to have than “a plan” in life. And here they are.

1. Self-responsibility

If you haven’t learned this, let it sink in right now: YOU are YOUR responsibility. It is no one else’s job to take care of you. You are the only person responsible for your well-being, success, happiness, and future. YOU.

Not your mom, not your teacher, not your coaches, not your boss, not your brother, not your bestie, not your dad, not your sister, not your S.O., not your mentor, not your - WHOEVER ELSE.

You. Just you. If you don’t understand that or believe that, your life is going to suck and you will always be a “victim”. Do not spend your life blaming other people for the things you don’t have and waiting around for someone to tell you what to do. Be bold enough to actively figure out what you want and pursue it completely, with full abandon. It’s both terrifying and utterly freeing but the sooner you take responsibility for your life and your actions, the sooner you’ll start creating a life you truly love.

2. Goals

Don’t get it twisted. “Goals” are not innately “plans” and having “plans” does not mean you have “goals”. Goals are specific moments you can achieve; plans are general ideas without a definite endpoint. While I never had a plan, I always had goals. You can change your goals as you see fit, but having something specific to achieve makes the uncertainty of life feel significantly less overwhelming. Goal setting how to’s: here.

3. Hobbies

The things that bring you joy in life are a pretty solid guiding light when it comes to what you should pursue. Example: I was always into sports and exercise. That led to a career with one of the largest athletic apparel retailers in the world and a hands-on job at a high-end fitness center in the Silicon Valley. Not only that, my desire to try new sports led me to kickboxing, and now I have an entirely new set of goals, friends and sweet ninja skills. Before that, I pursued dancing and was able to dance with some of the most talented choreographers in hip-hop today. But one thing has always remained true--my hobbies and interests led me to the experiences in life where I was MOST satisfied. Brick by brick, I laid the foundation of my life upon the activities most dear to me. Cliches are cliches for a reason: pursue your passions, especially if you don’t know where they’ll lead.

4. Relationships

We’re relational creatures. As an extroverted individual, I need people; but what I’ve learned is that I need quality people. The kind of people that can crack a joke one moment and have a deep conversation the next. People that care about you and that you deeply care about. Relationships take time and effort but they are the most important investment you can make in life. Be open to investing in new people and fight to stay connected with old friends and family.

5. Adventures

I’m an adventure addict. I’ll drive across the country in a van with semi-strangers and take a job in a city halfway across the world; I live for the unexpected. That’s taught me a valuable lesson--make room for adventure in your life. Whether that be a weekend away in a city you’ve never seen or going sky-diving, decide your level of adventure and lean into those uncertain, unorganized moments of life. Those are the moments that shake you out of the ordinary and put a spotlight on the things you hold most dear.

No one will ever have it all figured out (whatever that even means). There will always be things to learn, people to meet, and experiences to have. You will get bruised and broken by people and circumstances outside of your control. But in my few years of being a full-fledged, tax-paying grown up, I’ve realized to embrace the uncertainty and use these 5 things as guides and tools to create a life you truly love. No plan required. 

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