“The Big Plan.”
I first heard of “The Big Plan” enunciated with big quotations when I was a wide eyed seventeen year old college freshman. It came from an opinionated and rather intimidating upperclassman who declared that he was going to earn his first million at 25.
My seventeen year old self couldn’t care less about being 25 or millions. All I wanted was to maintain three things all throughout college: my scholarship, my weight and my sanity.
25 felt so far far away. I figured that by the time I was 25, I’d have it all figured out or have had my act together or something resembling “successful” women I saw on TV but until then, I didn’t give it much thought.
Today, 25 is a good 39 days away and while I may not know whether or not my classmate did earn his first million (or many more), I did know a few more things about life that my 17 year old self would be shocked to discover.
Thing is, the big plan never really is the big plan.
What I’ve realized is this: most of us are just winging it.
While we may all have a “big plan” tucked away in our hearts or at the back of our closets, at the very least, we really don’t know how to get from one point to another.
When we threw our caps at the end of college graduation, we thought that our life would finally finally be the way we imagined it in our heads: perfect, clean and definitely not messy.
We hoped that the future would include the perfect relationship, the perfect job and the perfect set of friends. However, in between bad breakups, crummy bosses and friends who have turned into nothing but pictures on our corkboards, we have come to the conclusion that life definitely isn’t the way we have planned it to be.
Drunk in the ignorance (arrogance) of our youth, we have always thought that life would be the way we want it to be just because we want it to be that way.
Being the professional daydreamer that I am, I have always thought that life was going to be exactly the way I wrote it, without realizing that I don’t have a magical pen to make it all come true, neither did I have a magic eraser that would take away all the parts that I didn’t like.
Truth is, life happens.
That no matter how hard we work or how much of our hearts we invest in our relationships, we fail, we make mistakes, we lose people and we quit jobs we once thought we were meant to excel in.
But then again, while these things may easily discourage us to believe in the process and in the good of life, I’d like to think that it could also easily encourage us to try again.
The worst has already happened. I have already failed before, what else could I face that I couldn’t take head on? My past battles have strengthened me.
I am a big Ted Mosby freak and I always sigh with joy whenever he ends the show with a quote about the universe conspiring to make things that are meant to happenhappen.
Yes, we have lost what we thought was our dream job but wasn’t it really just God moving us to another direction? The direction He meant for us at the beginning? The job that we were meant to really shine and excel in?
Yes, we have lost friendships, but that doesn’t open up more room for self-improvement? Doesn’t that open up more room for real people who would love you no matter how messy your face gets when you cry or how bad your jokes are?
And yes, you have lost the love of your young life, but doesn’t that make us better for the ultimate dream girl/boy?
My wise 19 year old brother once said that one day, we would look back on these life changing moments of our lives and say, “If it weren’t for that disappointment I wouldn’t be exactly where I am right now – where life is good and as it should be.”
It’s what I call the Ted Mosby principle and whenever I am tempted to give up or give in to the disappointments of life, I look at my very own yellow umbrella and believe that no matter how messy the journey or how painful the current moment is, it is all working out for the good.
My big plan may not be going as planned but the Master Storyteller’s plan hasn’t changed or shifted a bit. He has planned my life even before I was born and I take great comfort in the fact that no matter how different or painful life is: there is a plan and everything happening is happening to make that purpose materialize.
On days when I couldn’t see a silver lining, I take great pride in my battlescars. That while life may not be clear and the direction I should take next has not been revealed yet, I take joy in the fact that no matter what I have been through in the past, here I am, still standing and that should be something you should celebrate about your life as well.
Sometimes, the best you can do in life is to simply take a deep breath and be thankful that you still have it all together despite the many curveballs life has thrown at you. You should look at the beauty of your own inner strength and thank God for taking care of you enough to make you whole again.
Life isn’t about perfection. It isn’t about a checklist. It isn’t about a perfect story.
Life is all about the in-betweens.
The times you get out of bed after spending so many days holed up in your room, crying and wondering if you still have it in you to fight. The times you get out of your house each day, hoping that this day is better than all your yesterdays so far.
You see, dear, Swedish House Mafia did get it right, Heaven does have a plan for you and while you may not know the plan, know that it is good and that whatever you have gone through in the past has helped in leading you to the plan.
Remember Ted and all those girls he cried over before he finally met her? Remember all the anguish and the times he wanted to give up? What do you think happened if he did? Then he wouldn’t have a great story to tell and he wouldn’t have battlescars that he would be proud of.
The same goes for you. Your story is still being written, but best believe that the One who has written your story will never give you one that isn’t beautiful, magical or worth telling.
And whenever you feel like giving up, hold on to your yellow umbrella and believe that the best is yet to come, because darling, the future is bright.