Sunday, 6 March 2016
Why I Ditched My Life Plan
"Expectation is the one thing that stands in the way of you living your life"
That phrase was uttered to me at the start of 2015. That was also the time I started writing this post, but for some reason it's stayed in my drafts ever since. Over the past couple of years I've let go of my life plan and it's freed me completely. Growing up I always had in my head a plan. I never really wanted to go to university, but I did it because it seemed 'the done thing to do.' My plan was then to move straight to London and bag myself a high flying fashion/magazine journalism job. Looking back I can't believe how naive I was to think it could happen overnight. Three years later and it still hasn't happened.
In my dreamland, I'd also planned to work 3-5 years in London before moving to the Big Apple and continuing my writing career there. And guess what? That's not happened either. But do you know what? I'm okay with it. I can see now how much pressure I'd put on this fantasy and I'd pinned so much of my happiness pending that it would come true that up until about two years ago I'd think I was getting nowhere in life, and I was always thinking of my next step and move that would make me even happier.
But happiness exists everywhere - whether you're in Midtown NYC to Market Street Manchester - which is where my life currently is. Well not exactly, but you catch my drift.
Nearly three years ago I got my job at boohoo.com. It was my first 'real job' out of university and I as soon as I was offered the job, I took it so fast. But I didn't realise at the time how much the job would shape and change my life. I get a lot of happiness from my job and working with such creative and talented people - which is good since I spend most of my life there. But more than that I've made lifelong friends and find myself laughing every single day.
I've stopped associating happiness with big moments or achieving big goals and started to look a little closer to home. I'm happy that I have a job at all, I'm happy that I have a nice place to live, that I'm fit and healthy and that I have a lot of loved ones around me. I never planned that but it happened.
Plans can be beneficial but they turned my life into a constant competition with myself - constantly striving to better myself and not appreciating the here and now. I'm going to be honest, I still get a twang of jealousy of my London friends and their journalism jobs but then I remember how happy I am, right here, right now.
Whilst I think it's good to plan certain things, I don't plan many things now - I just take each day as it comes. I could be dead tomorrow so I act quite impulsively and spontaneously with what or who makes me happy. My life plan isn't so much a career plan but a more simple stripped back plan - to simply be happy.
John Lennon once recalled: “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” I think I'll take a leaf out of Lennon's book...