Monday, June 22, 2015

Predetermined Plan/Meandering Maze

I was recently asked, "Have you always been someone who just jumps?" (in regards to my recent life overhaul)

I hesitated to answer, unsure. I thought back through key decision points in my life. Eventually, I answered with a, "pretty much," as I didn't want to bore her with the long and winding thought process that led to that somewhat boring answer. 

This reminded me of a Fb message conversation this past fall with my best girlfriend from high school in which she said the following to me (about the same life overhaul): "You always find ways to be shocking in life.....," and "'re crazy." After which she wished me all the best, of course. 

It's not that I set out to shock people on purpose--except that one day in 10th grade when I wore all black and black lipstick. That WAS on purpose! Quite frankly, I end up shocking myself first, then my choices and actions cause others to be (sometimes) shocked. I have periodically found myself lulled into a sedate or ordinary existence (nothing wrong with ordinary for fact it is what they want and desire). These are NOT things I want for myself. But as my older sister talks about in one of her blog posts, sometimes we have to make a hard right or left out of the life ruts which we find ourselves stuck within. I have done this a few times. 

I've come to believe that there are two general types of people in the world--or at least within American society. I won't speak for the world at large. I believe Americans tend to look at their Life in one of two ways--as a Predetermined Path or as a Meandering Maze. I can't say I thought about this at a young age, or even as a twenty or thirtysomething. It has become apparent to me in the past year or so, as I reflected on my 41 years and analyzed and considered my choices, and the paths trod as a result. 

My ONLY for sure plan in life, which I knew from age 5 or so, was to go to college. That was a plan. I couldn't wait to get my hands on those big, weighty textbooks that my older sister had the luxury (burden?) of carrying around. But once college was checked off, my list was strangely blank and I've been making it up as I go ever since. I am of the meandering maze type. I did set goals along that meandering path, but they were not chosen or selected at a young age, nor were they part of a continuum of expectations for my future and life. 

The predetermined plan person has a blueprint in their mind of what their life looks like from a young age and they work to fill in the rooms with those people and things. A degree in this which leads to a career as that. They expect to meet someone, fall in love, marry, buy a house (perhaps in a specific location OR where the career has taken them), and then have a couple of kids (or one or more than two) and raise that family. They put money away for retirement and have an idea of what that entails (travel abroad, RV across the US, vacation home in Costa Rica, etc). Many people I know are on this path and are happy, content, and fulfilled. I'm so happy to know them and see them fulfill their dreams. However, there are also some, whom I know, that have not checked off certain boxes of their predetermined plan and they struggle. They are sad, angry, disappointed, or depressed as a result of not achieving said things. My heart aches for these individuals, as I love and wish for each of them all that their heart desires. 

As a teenager, I never would have predicted that I would someday live in Idaho, Colorado, and soon, Asia. I went where my college pursuits took me. I went to the west to be near my older sister. Then was deployed where I fell in love and made a new path to Colorado. Bored with a job, I pursued a second degree and made a new career path. I traveled with my father and visited my mother. Unexpected events happened along the way--like my week in the hospital last year where I did contemplate my mortality and what is was I was UP TO DO in this life. I decided to make drastic changes. Then unexpectedly and as a result of a trip with my father, I was pursued by a man 6,000 miles and an ocean away. I opened my mind and heart--to him and to an altogether different future. It's all beyond anything I could have imagined for myself. And it is lovely and exciting and exhilarating, and immersed in joy and happiness. 

Now, I know others that meander that are also not content or satisfied in life. They are yet looking......for something. Some aren't sure what it is that is missing or absent, but they do continue meander and search. 

There is not a "right" way to pursue life; though I would argue that a life lacking "pursuit" is a less than desirable one. But I would be interested in your thoughts or opinions in reaction to my musings. Did you make a plan for your life? Has it become what you wanted it to be? Are you making things up as you go? How has that worked for you? Yes.....please do share your thoughts with us here. I'm curious......


  1. Well sis, I think you can anticipate my response :). I have meandered enjoying the journey as I go along, wishing to be open to possibilities and adventures - all the while focusing on my main goal - to be a good person who lives presently with all those around me. Most certainly there have been specific goals along the way that I was determined to achieve, like exchange student in High School, Hollin's College for my first year at university, raising my children without putting them in daycare full time, etc... There is so much I would have missed along my path if I had gone through life with tunnel visioned blinders on - for me I love being open to what I might be graced with, my present experience certainly shares this way of being. It is beautiful that we have the free will to pursue and be in our own special way :)!

  2. Of course I can anticipate your we've talked about this! And yes, Free Will is a gift!