Life plans—do they really work?
I was once asked where I saw myself in five and 10 years.
On that day, I was sitting behind my computer at the desk that was assigned to me two years previously, doing the work that was expected of me as I played my small role in the company I worked for, happy to go along with this.
I looked up at the question and had no answer. I had no idea. This got me thinking about grand plans, wondering why I was in a time of my life when I didn’t seem to have any plans to evolve in my life—not by society’s standards anyway.
Once upon a time, I was this ambitious, young woman (now just a woman), ready to climb the corporate ladder as far as I could on my own esteem. Not much had been handed to me on a platter—I had worked hard for every inch I had journeyed, up to the point where I was at that moment in time. What the hell happened?
Did you know that women seem to go through a life crisis at around the age of 30 years old? Apparently, this is something known by psychologists. It is probably why it is hugely suggested that women don’t get married before the age of 30. At the age of 25, we become “set in our ways,” so perhaps, when we get to 30, we realise we don’t particularly like some of our ways.
There I was, past the age of 30, without an answer. Then it dawned on me: perhaps I was at peace with not having an extravagant plan. Like most people, I felt I had been through some challenging trials and times, which had changed my outlook on most things. Welcome to growing up!
I wondered if, perhaps, it was okay to plan on doing everything I could with great love, if that could be “my plan.” If I was quoting a customer, I went out of my way to do it right; if the tea lady wasn’t there, I went down and made everyone coffee when I was feeling thirsty; if a customer phoned and was kind, I tried to show my appreciation for that in my voice.
Something odd happened. When I started working on “my plan,” I suddenly found the courage to approach people about toxic behaviour toward others, started putting in major boundaries, and found this river of joy in what some might see as a dull life.
I loved my job, but not because of the job itself—I just loved doing the job. All of a sudden, no days went past when I felt I could have done better because I knew that no matter the day, I had done my best. Maybe tomorrow I would be better, not the day!
I think there is a lot of pressure on us, average folks, to be extraordinary, to live a life that everyone dreams about and aspires to. But is that really the purpose of life?
Surely, love is the only thing that turns the ordinary into extraordinary. As said by the famous Khalil Gibran, “I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”
Maybe a life of service is the biggest, best-kept secret yet.. The real grand plan.