If you're like me, you have a very specific and detailed life plan.
You've thought about everything, imagined all those huge moments in your head, and are anxiously anticipating their arrival in the years to come. Now if you're also like me, you sometimes get so caught up in these things that the minor fault in the plan really throws you for a loop. But what I've started to realize is that my life plan will work out, even if it's not exactly how I imagined it.
Since starting college, I had this specific idea of what I wanted to do in my career and how I was going to achieve it. I knew which internships I wanted, what clubs I had to be a part of, and who I had to network with. But the reality of the situation is: Not all of these things will go perfectly.
Over the summer, I applied with my dream company for an internship this fall. I knew I had the majority of the qualifications and experience they wanted and was very hopeful I would get it or at least be considered. I quickly heard back for a phone interview, then an in-person interview the week after. And then I waited. And waited. And waited some more. It got to the point where I was checking the status of my application every day, hoping it would change from "open" to "hired."
But it didn't.
One day I looked and it was changed to closed, and not for the reason I hoped. I got an email thanking me and encouraging me to apply for the spring. At first, it sucked. I doubted myself; my abilities. I questioned if I was even in the right career path. I felt horrible about myself and what I had to offer. But as the days went by, I slowly began to realize that it was OK that my "perfect plan" went astray a bit. It was not the end of the world, nor did me not getting this internship close every door for the future.
I realized that I still had a lot to offer and I needed to proud of myself that I heard back and was asked for an interview, something many don't even get the opportunity to do. I was considered and a contender for this company. And that is something to be proud of.
This experience was not easy. It was tough. But it made me realize that in the grand scheme of things that one inconvenience does not ruin everything.
Life is not perfect. There is no way to fully control everything, no matter how hard we try. What we can do is control ourselves and our actions. We can influence how we think about the future and about our abilities. Your potential and worth are not defined by failure. Your potential and worth are defined by how you overcome said failure and use it to your advantage.
If you don't have that dream job yet, it's OK. If you don't have that ring on your finger by 26, it's OK. If the big, white wedding doesn't happen at the exact age we imagined, with kids two years after, it's OK. And if you're struggling to find a job right out of college or single for longer than you would have thought or just living life for the moment, making it up as you go, that's OK too.
One deviation in that well-thought-out life plan is not the end. It's just a detour. So embrace every moment. Learn from those failures. And never stop pushing too hard for your happiness, even if it doesn't perfectly align with that plan.