When life doesn’t turn out the way you want it
What happens when life becomes a little disappointing? What happens when things go entirely different from what you planned? How do you keep living when life doesn’t turn out the way you expected it? What if you don’t get that one thing you desperately wanted? What if the universe decides to test you a little more?
Isn’t it frustrating and depressing? You dreamed about finishing college, getting the good job you’ve always aimed for, achieving your dreams and goals step by step, and living your life. But it’s not working out that way. You finished college, but you didn’t end up with the job you wanted. You realized some of your goals, but you’re not as close as you thought you’d be to your dreams. And worse: You’re stuck, unhappy, and hardly living your life.
Remember how entering your 20s and welcoming your adulthood were described in the novels you read? Remember how lovely it seemed—getting a job, being free, buying the stuff you wanted for so long, and being responsible for your own life? Little did I know, when I began romanticizing about it, that when I finally hit my 20s, I would find myself questioning my very existence and purpose in life.
Is this how it is? Your mind starts to be filled with questions, doubt and fear. Questions about self-worth and the idea of who you are. Doubt about the principles and values you hold. Fear of the unknown and the uncertainty.
You lose hope and try to connect your string of thoughts as if it can make yourself whole. You swim and plumb the vast ocean, trying to find the answers. You tread the labyrinth of obscure paths, looking for something that can validate your existence. But you feel like the universe is conspiring against you. You fear that life is knocking you down every single day. You doubt that anyone will understand you, so you face it all alone. Pressure keeps haunting you even in your sleep. You are convinced that everyone will judge you; it scares you so much. Then suddenly, you just want to give up. You just want to go to bed, crawl under the covers, and drown in your anxieties, negativity and dashed hopes.
The melancholy days weep in monotonous despair.
But you see, maybe it’s life telling you that all along this is the right path. That the way you plan your life isn’t the better idea to reach your goals. It is life telling you that this is where you will grow, and this is the direction to evolve and become the person you are meant to be. There are bumpy roads and curves in the journey because, as it turns out, you’ll discover more about yourself if you let your heart open to new experiences.
Enjoy this process. It will be a dynamic and purposeful adventure. Your mind is too bright to be filled with doubt and fear. You are too wonderful to let negativity dominate and drag you down. As Joseph Campbell said, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Whenever I have bad days and I feel ganged up by life, I just let out a cry. I’ll feel very emotional, sensitive and angry about life, but then I have to reflect and debate with my own thoughts. I have to start recalling the good days and remember to breathe.
I think about my future a lot, and I’ve had countless “What am I doing with my life?” moments. I have spent too much time worrying about something over which I have no control. I have to remind myself that this is not my fault, that this, too, will pass, and that better days are coming.
You just need to realize that life is full of challenges that you need to resolve in order to grow. You need to adjust your expectations in life so you will not be hurt if things won’t work that way. You need to embrace the unplanned life in order for you to live a happy and passionate life. Life has its own way of giving you obstacles to having the life you want. Things will not always go in your favor. But it will make sense. It will, someday.
For once, do not compare yourself to your peers who achieved so much after college graduation and turning 20. They welcomed their adulthood in a whole new world that you haven’t even had a chance to enter. Remind yourself that we all have different paths to take to be successful, and you have your own timing. Do not hurry. Life is too short to be lived on fast-forward. You will be envious and jealous, but turn those feelings into something productive. Keep believing in yourself, that no matter how long the journey will take, it is always worth it.
In short, you have to let go of wanting to control everything. It’s okay to cry, to be lost, to be confused, to be depressed. Your feelings are valid just as long as you don’t let them define who you are and what your future will be. You’ll be fine, but remember that happiness comes from the inside. Just relax and let life surprise you in all possible ways. Chances are you will be happier if you live in the moment. Strengthen your faith and belief that God has a better plan for you that will make you happier than you ever thought you will be. Life can be magical and beautiful. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it will never be anyway. Life will be more appreciated when it is lived. It is more exciting when you’ve been a little bruised in your journey.
When life doesn’t turn out the way you want it, it will make you a stronger person. You will realize that you can’t control everything. You will learn that life has its ways to make you feel down, dejected and disheartened, that life will leave you scars and bruises, that life will make you realize you’re not perfect. But this is life. This is what the whole thing is all about. One day you will look back and be able to say “thank you” that life took a U-turn and corrected your path, leading you to where you are now. One day you will look back and be surprised that the way you planned your life doesn’t matter anymore because this is your fate. This is your life.
Jane Timbengan, 21, says she is currently working on herself.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.