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Expectation Vs. Reality: When Life Doesn’t Turn Out As Planned

 So, you took a job that you thought was ‘THE’ job but now, dread every single day of work. Maybe you studied real hard to get through an Ivy League college but missed by a long shot. Maybe you thought you’d be married by now but aren’t even seeing anybody. Maybe you gave your all to a project and it shut down, unexpectedly. Maybe you started a business and it blew. Maybe you invested everything in your relationship and your partner ‘fell out of love.’

woman thinking_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Life is a strange friend. It doesn’t necessarily mirror the image we have of it in our lives, but it certainly reflects people, episodes and things that are best for us. We may not realize it immediately, but eventually, when life doesn’t turn out as planned but things pick pace along the journey, the pre-decided destination doesn’t hold much charm anymore. We learn to embrace the ride- bumps et al.

And life doesn’t turn out as planned, often. It enjoys the thrill, I guess. You tell life how this’d be the ‘perfect time’ for something and guess what- it replies with a ‘maybe, but in the meantime…’ And suddenly, you find yourself either in a broad brooding bout of where you went wrong in asking ‘just this much’ or smiling at it all, so you can proceed to make memoirs of the pieces that don’t fit the puzzle. Not for now, at least.

Suggested read: Capitalism wants us to hate ourselves, let’s show them the power in self-love

I know this because my life hasn’t quite turned out to be anything like I imagined. I know this because my life has taken more detours than I can keep track of. I know this because life, as it turns out, is my unpredictable girlfriend who shall be too wasted to get up and talk, one moment and would be dancing on table tops, the next! What’s more- she will throw up on your Manolo Blahnik heels the next! And as you grapple between quick, successive rounds of feeling helpless, surprised and angry, she will flash you that adorable grin, so you just agree to pick her up and forge ahead!

woman thinking_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

You might have an ‘expectation hangover’ because you’d want to believe you went out and did exactly what you’d set out for but reality, as they say, is an eye-opener. Life may not paint you a faithful picture (she was sloshed too, remember?) but it will give you all the hints you need to know that your pang of disappointment might just be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.

Here’s why:


When life doesn’t turn out as planned, you learn to steer it in another direction:

When you don’t win, fall short or face your worst fears, you will have nothing to do but navigate through them to find a your destination. It is okay if you get lost, take routes you don’t know well, have a little accident or even, feel alone and scared, you need to remember that you are making headway to your destination. It may be taking a bit longer than you planned, a bit longer than is necessary, a bit longer than your not-quite-bottomless patience barrel can hold but it will be okay. In life, we don’t always get where we wanted to be, but we always reach where we are meant to be. So, no matter the turn of the road, no matter the bend, no matter the darkness or the storm, keep driving. Any and all routes are taking you home.

When life doesn’t turn out as planned, you will start to look within for validation:

woman thinking_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Most people look outward for validation. But when things go awry, you head home for comfort. For safety. Your home is YOU. When I said, any and all routes are taking you home- I meant you need to reach inside. Look within for your own identity. Look within to identify your chances for growth. Your boss’ appraisal report doesn’t define your competency. Your confidence does. Your lover’s compliments don’t determine just how special you are. Your self-worth does. Take that chance. Plunge in. Stop expending your energy on those around and look for everything you have inside of you- to find yourself. Because YOU come first.

Suggested read: Of loneliness and miracles: Why we are so unhappy

When life doesn’t turn out as planned, you will become more YOU than you were:

woman thinking_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

And when you do find yourself, you will see yourself for exactly who you are. Naked, in all your frailty, your strength, your vulnerability. Turn that moment into a pregnant opportunity for growth. Let it humble you. Allow it to make you kinder, gentler, compassionate, passionate, stronger, wiser, sympathetic- HUMAN. Feel everything. And feel it deeply. Let life take you as its own. And then, all the ticks of time shall stop. Because you wouldn’t need to be ‘perfect’ nor feel the need for a ‘perfect time’ for anything. You will simply accept whatever life brings you in the ‘meantime’ and learn to savor it!

Maybe the ‘meantime’ is really our only time. All the rest are moments to be frozen in memories- of when we finally got where we wanted..err..were meant to be!

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Article Name
Expectation Vs. Reality: When Life Doesn't Turn Out As Planned
When life doesn't turn out as planned, you learn to steer it in another direction.
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."