You know those people who knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up and ended up doing exactly that? Yup, those people are a rare and lucky breed! Towards the end of high school, being asked what you were going to do with your life was pretty much as common as hearing your own name. And as an 18-year old (and even still to this day) having a concrete plan of where your life is going is a very daunting, and possibly unnecessary, pressure. The great saying “life happens when you’re busy making plans” is so great because of the value in its truth. Apart from the lucky few who have a clear path set out, the rest of us are usually surprised with the journey life takes us on. Even if we had so many ideas and dreams about what it would be like, you can never really prepare for the reality of the journey. I know I took a complete turn to what I pictured during school. But here I am, happier than ever, and this is why it’s okay to not have any plans…
Firstly, if you had known me in school you would remember me being super academic and focused on maths, science, accounting – all those wonderful subjects. I loved school and I always wanted to do my best and achieve what I knew I was capable of. Creativity was always in my nature, but in my school days I focused more on the left-brain side of things. This was me. Up until about the end of grade 11. From then on I was still studious and did my best, but I was not as interested in the subjects I was doing as I had previously been. Something changed in me and I kind of just wanted to finish school already so I could actually spend time doing what I wanted to: the problem was, I wasn’t even sure what that was yet! It proved difficult though, because I had always been an over-achiever and gotten good grades, so I had always assumed that I would just go straight into varsity like “normal people”, and study something “normal” and “acceptable”. Oh my my, did I surprise myself!
Because I had no idea of what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing (side note: this isn’t true, you can change and alternate and do as many things in your life – you’re not restricted to one) I decided to take a gap year. And with this, my love of make-up fuelled me to study the art of make-up for the first six months of my first year out of school. I literally did a complete 180 from who I was in school! But I haven’t regretted it. Those six months gave me skills that I can use throughout my life and I know I will always have a talent behind me to rely on. From then, my life took a bit of a windy road. I went to university afterwards, started studying BA Law (hated it) and eventually I ended up where I was 100% meant to be: studying BA Communication Science via correspondence, allowing me to focus on my blog and my make-up.
As you can tell, my life journey took unexpected turns and I’m not even 23 yet! This is excluding my younger self’s hopes of becoming a pop star, and of course, my days as an actress. You can just imagine how many turns life has yet to take. But that’s the point; no one has the right way to do life or succeed at it because there are many, many ways. There’s so much pressure put on us to have some sort of paved path because ‘in this society nothing is guaranteed’. Exactly! Nothing is guaranteed. So no matter how solid and paved your path is, there might be obstacles that prevent you from going in a certain direction, or even different opportunities that take you somewhere you never imagined you’d be, but seem to fit so perfectly. Half of the adults I speak to today (I still do not classify myself as an adult…) admit that they still have no clue where their life is taking them! But you just learn to roll with what you’re dealt.
Don’t get confused though. There’s a difference between being okay with not having a clear plan, but making the effort to navigate yourself anyway, and being careless enough to hide behind the idea that not having a plan means sitting back and doing nothing, waiting for it to fall into your lap somehow. As intimidating as it is being surrounded by others who have their future sorted, savour the position you’re in and look at it as if you’re getting a chance to test out different interests before deciding what’s really next. It doesn’t end there though; life is about messing up and trying again, experimenting in new environments, learning about what you like and what you don’t, and at the end of the day, no one can choose what will be best for you, but you.
If I hadn’t taken that gap year my blog wouldn’t exist – or at least, it wouldn’t be what it is today – I wouldn’t have qualified as a make-up artist, I wouldn’t have worked in retail, which taught me that I never want to work in retail again, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Obviously any path you end up taking will form you into the person you become because we’re shaped by our experiences. I don’t know what I would be like now if I had finished a law degree and gone on to pursue that career, but I do know that I am forever grateful that my plans took the turns they needed to, to get me here today. As a creative, I thrive off working at my own pace, when I feel inspired and passionate, and I embrace the fact that my creativity gets to grow and grow. If you’ve been here you’ll understand that it’s scary to not have a plan, but you’ll also know how rewarding it can turn out to be. Plan or no plan, either way you will end up where you are meant to be, I’m a firm believer in that!
I’d love to know your thoughts!