Monday, February 6, 2012

When Your Plans Don't Work Out, Make BETTER ONES!

Sometimes things don't work out the way you wanted or expected them to, and that's okay.

For the past two years since I graduated, I've assumed I was going to go to grad school to get a Masters degree. The first year flew past and I was enjoying my time away from homework too much to apply to school. The second year came quickly and I thought grad school was what I wanted. I took the GRE and applied to a couple of programs at the last minute. My statements of intent were the hardest part of the application process, because writing "because I have nothing better to do" isn't really an acceptable response to "why do you want to join our program?"...and that's the only reason I had.

When it started to be clear that grad school wasn't in my 2012 horizon, I started to ponder what else this year could bring for me. 2010 was the most adventurous, fear-bending year of my life, and 2011 was probably the least eventful of my almsot 25 years. I wanted 2012 to be amazing and incredible, but without grad school, how could it be? So I turned my focus to work. "This year I'll get a promotion. This will be the year I get a raise and a salary and benefits."

Last week proved that this plan wasn't meant to be either. My best friend got the only promotion I could have possibly been up for, and I was devastated. I must say though, that somewhere in the back of my mind I knew this was coming, despite all the secrecy and lies that floated around the office the past several weeks and months. I'm happy for her, because if anybody deserves a promotion, it's her. I was less happy about the sneaky way they went about it, and the secrets have made working the past week undeniably awkward. Moving on...

Now that I am confident the 2 grad schools I applied to will laugh at my application and my company isn't going to promote me, it's onto plan C. In my opinion, it's the best plan of all. It's much more exciting and life-changing than grad school or a promotion would be. I have my entire life to go back to school and to get promoted at work. This is the only year my best friend Diana will ever go to Spain and Europe for a 6-month adventure where I can join her.

I want to travel and I have the funds to do it, but most of my friends are married or poor, or both. This opportunity will never come again; Diana won't be in the same place, and neither will I. I may never have the chance to walk the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James pilgrimage, ever again.

Plan C is to spend 2-3 months of this year in another hemisphere, experiencing new cultures, speaking a foreign language, overcoming fears, and laughing harder than I have ever laughed in my life.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. I've prayed about grad school and received indifferent responses. I figure the Man Upstairs is thinking the same thing as I am: "You can go, but you can always go to grad school. Why not try something more exciting?" I will learn more by speaking a foreign language and looking into the eyes of strangers than I ever would in a classroom.

So there it is. 2012 is the year of LIVING my dreams and not just dreaming about them.

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