March Madness is the most wonderful time of the year, right? We all look forward to this month like it’s a national holiday. Basketball is on 24/7, the underdogs have a chance to become victorious, brackets can be destroyed in the first round, and final buzzer points can take your breath away. Each morning after another round of games, I find myself waking up, grabbing my phone to check my bracket, and then proceeding to throw my phone in the trash. Another year of never seeming to be capable of making a semi-decent bracket.
While mourning another wasted March, I realized that life is structured similarly to a March Madness bracket. I need to accomplish certain things to move on to the next phase of life just like these teams need to win their games to move on to the next round. But that isn’t always what happens, is it? Upsets are no rare occasion in March Madness and sometimes the projected winner doesn’t move on (Sorry, Michigan State).
My bracket for life has changed hundreds of times, but I am beginning to realize that it's OK. In my senior year of high school, I had this plan. I was going to go to a big southern state school, be involved in big time sports, study medical engineering, meet a handsome fella, get my ring by spring (ugh, come on Kate) and live happily ever after.
Was that what happened? Not even close. I thought I got a low seed entering into the tournament of life by choosing a small, private college 15 minutes away from home. But I ended up advancing into the next round with small class sizes and caring professors, while also having a big brother at school right next door. (Can I get a Go Irish?!) Overtime was really a heart stopper when I changed my major five times… Yikes.
But a last minute buzzer beater with an awesome internship in a program I love sealed the deal. Every time my bracket of life goes awry, I get so frustrated thinking about the hard work I have put in or the complications it may cause. But every upset has opened a new door. We are a generation that wants to plan our every move, but sometimes, you just have to trust that the right things will come into your life, and the right team will eventually win.
When you lose a game in the NCAA tournament, your team's season is done but you're able to go back and practice until that next game and that next tournament. Life is full of upsets and you learn quickly that the bracket you make for your life is not always what happens. But keep moving forward and become the best version of you. Sure, the upsets are unpredictable, but so are the wins.