I have learned throughout my three and a half years in college that nothing will ever go as planned. Honestly, I have never been a person to really plan anything.

“What about the future?”

“How can we truly be happy if our future remains unclear?”

“We need plans; what do we do after this?”

“What are your plans after school?”

So many questions about where I go from here.

The future? I’m just trying to survive until graduation. There are many common quotes circulating the web today about how someone who spends their entire life planning forgets to enjoy the little things.

I believe this is true in some ways. I mean, don’t get me wrong — planning in life is important. However, it can only take us so far. A plan is only a wish — a framework that we can only attempt to follow. Like an essay outline, a plan only summarizes the possibilities; an outline only summarizes the main topics of each paragraph. An elaborate essay is built through edits, revision, and rewrites. New ideas form and old ideas dampen. When the final draft comes along, it may look nothing like the original outline.

Happiness cannot be outlined. We can only hope that as we write, as we live, we squeeze as much happiness as possible into each word of every line in every paragraph.

Positivity will emerge itself from the shadows of failure. Indescribable mess ups leading from one mistake to another will no longer feel overpowering. In this moment, it feels like I have a chain shackled around my neck and attached at the other end is a wrecking ball of regrets ready to be dropped from a thousand-foot cliff.

However, to free myself of the shackles, I must take control of my life. The key to freedom is allowing yourself to have it. To enjoy it. To make the best out of the moments we’re given. I forget this a lot. More than I should. It’s important to remember that life requires balance.

Happiness is spontaneous.

But so is disaster.

These last couple of weeks for me have been extremely challenging. I have succumbed to thoughts of why doing what I do doesn’t even matter. I’ve managed to increase the threshold of an emotional breakdown, and I think that’s an achievement from the view of a college student, but an unhealthy motivator to get shit done.

I could tell you about my week and all the little things that went wrong, like: locking my keys in my car, breaking my glasses, internship paperwork taking too long, fulfilling graduation requirements, and misplacing twenty dollars. (That’s only a small portion of what’s been going on.)

So anyway, naturally, I thought karma was coming to bite me in the ass for whatever messed-up thing I did however long ago. But when I was able to actually sit down and ponder what was happening in my life, I was able to evaluate the situation from a different perspective. I admit that I might not always handle some situations with the best attitude.

However, I have learned that your attitude on a particular subject/situation has the power to change how you react to that subject or in that situation. As human beings, we normally react to things fast and without thinking. Think about it: if we stopped before we acted and assessed the situation, we would be able to act more rationally rather than out of emotion.

In therapy this week, we discussed one of my strongest weaknesses. That weakness is falling victim to my empathy. I describe this weakness not as just a weakness, but as my strongest weakness. I describe it this way because I don’t want to attach such a negative connotation to it that people see it as a flaw. It’s not a flaw.

I’m able to use my empathy to better connect with individuals. I have a sense of understanding and willingness to accommodate. I understand more than anyone that life happens and my empathy for those individuals allows me to sometimes do too much for people who don’t necessarily deserve it.

I go out of my way to help everyone that I normally forget that my happiness and my well-being matter also. I feel like a lot of you out there reading this can relate to this style of parasitic relationships. There’s a difference between helping those who need it and helping those who take advantage of it.

I have my weaknesses, but turning those weaknesses into strengths is the difference between self-loathing and self-love.

I find that life can be hard to handle a lot of the time. Life is full of endless decisions and choices that constantly reflect what happens next. It seems like there is always too much to do and never enough hours in the day. Have you ever tried to juggle? Fun trick, really. I absolutely suck at it. It is already hard for me to toss two balls between my hands and you want me to toss in a third? I don’t think so. Well, the few times I had attempted it, balls went flying.

It was a hectic mess. I kept getting more and more frustrated at the situation because it seemed like such a simple task, and yet, I wasn’t able to teach my mind and muscles how to manage it. Life, to me, is kind of the same way. I work well with one or two big, complicated tasks and maybe a few small ones, and I’m good. I’m productive.

But as soon as you throw three or more huge projects at me and expect me to just figure them out, I’m out of the game. Balls go flying and things don’t get done. Sometimes life just becomes too much to juggle. There comes a point where two hands just aren’t enough and shit just starts flying. That’s normal. That’s life.

I feel like life recently has just been a constant juggling tournament between me, myself, and I. Constantly trying to manage work, school, social life, and sleep has been unbelievably impossible. I have four balls and the most I’m able to juggle is two. I am not able to adult very well like this. But I see it as an opportunity to improve who I’m becoming.

These past few weeks I have discovered what I’ve been missing and what I’ve been struggling with. I’ve come up with my own solutions. My own ways to keep moving forward. To keep making progress. I have chosen an unpaved road to travel. I am hoping maybe it’s just a longer route to where I’m meant to be.

I’ve struggled with many missed opportunities, plagues of empty memories, possibilities, and realities being stolen from my very mind. Chance and confusion dismissed my future and set my soul upon a different path.

I tasted bitterness in my own goodbyes. Bitterness truly possesses its own harsh taste. Bitterness is now my existence from hence forth. I wished for a future; I wished for a wish that was impossible to clarify, but I am the only one with the power to implement my own life changes.

Stars, weightless spheres of chemical compounds, glimmer overhead and I find myself hoping that the marvelous beauty and power they contain will somehow transfer to me. I hope that somehow this will verify my existence and my continuance into the coming stages of life. That somehow it will assure my future which now seems so uncertain.

Perhaps these missed opportunities will lead to my destruction, my ultimate demise. Or, perhaps, this twist in the road is simply a longer route to where I wish to be. To that radiant future for which I can only glimpse in the beauty of the stars.