Why A “Change Of Plans” Isn’t Always A Bad Thing


By Tamara Burgos

Plans. Some of us love them; others hate them. But we all make them. It’s the inevitable nature of human beings, we want things to happen to us, and we create a vision in our minds of how we will get them and what it will be like once we do. 

Before I continue, a short disclaimer: Unless you’ve never experienced frustration, disappointment or have been surprised (in a good way) by how things turned out, then you should probably stop reading now, because this won’t be relatable.

I’ve always been very driven and determined. Which is low key code for bossy and stubborn. When I was navigating through high school, trying to figure out what I wanted, which college I wanted to go to and what to major in (yes, I was naive enough to think I’d choose my major at 17), all my plans were written down like vows and promises in my mental life agenda. I had to get through each and every one of them. No excuses. No delays. No skipping corners. No “What if it doesn’t work out?” or “What if I change my mind?” Everything had to happen exactly as I wanted. I know, typical stubborn and immature teenager.

But then things changed. After I finally made up my mind about not going to college in my home city, I realized I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I got to college. I wasn’t ready to make a choice that I thought would define my future and career. I was frustrated and angry at myself. All of my plans and ideas were set in stone for so long that when I started questioning them, I felt utterly lost.

What happened next? Boom. Change of plans.

I took a gap year. I volunteered, turned back to dance and piano, and enrolled at a local private university for the sake of not wasting my time and lagging behind with my studies. As I prepared my applications for college in the U.S., I pictured myself as an undergrad, somewhere in New England. Admissions packages arrived, I was accepted at most of my dream schools. And then…boom, again. I also happened to get admitted to a college I never even thought existed or dreamt of, and after a weekend on campus, I decided to go there. I chose a smaller college, located as far from my home as physically possible. That wasn’t part of any of my plans. But it turned out to be the best thing that’s happened to me so far.

Unfortunately, a change of plans doesn’t always mean that things will go even better than you thought they would. Sometimes it means they’ll be different. It means you’ll have to make choices. You’ll have to choose people over places, personal needs over personal desires, which is certainly much more difficult and challenging, but nonetheless necessary. You find more cons than pros. But there’s a silver lining. Because there always has to be one, right?

Having to deal with massive changes in plans over the last two and a half years has taught me something really important: For the most part, life is a lot like surfing. The water is relatively calm and smooth, easy to control. That is the key word: control. We get so used to always being in control. And then I stumbled upon circumstances where everything spiraled out of control. The feelings of helplessness and hopelessness were as strong and overwhelming as furious waves crashing down, sweeping me off my feet and throwing me into the raging water. Losing control feels a lot like drowning, except you’re not. You have to keep swimming as best as you can and figure out a way to get your head out of the water and breathe.

Changing plans doesn’t mean everything is lost. It just means not everything is going to be the same as it was before, and that can be a good thing. Life isn’t about following an edited script you wrote. It needs plot twists and cliffhangers. It needs change, evolution, and progress.

Sometimes, the moment when you think it’s all lost is the moment when you find yourself. And that can be everything.

I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t make plans and just let the wind take you wherever you’re meant to be. In all honesty, that’s just delusional crap. Plans are great and necessary. They motivate you; they keep you focused. But flexibility makes you stronger, and wiser.

I still make plans. One of my life mottos is the stereotypical and overly reblogged Tumblr quote: “I don’t have dreams, I have plans”. I haven’t lost my fire. I’m even more driven and passionate. I’m still bossy. But the plans I make are no longer set in stone. Being flexible with your plans is like opening a curtain. All those blurry shadows become sharper and brighter once you let the sun in.

Tamara is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. The views and opinions expressed in Contributing Writer articles reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the site. 

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{featured image via unsplash