We're told that planning and setting goals is the key to success, that in order to achieve what we want, we need to meticulously make plans to make our lives easier and to get to our end goals. But what happens when the experience does not match up with your plans? When you plan everything and "do everything right" according to what you should be doing, but nothing turns out the way you planned?
For most people, this would incite panic and anxiety. But I feel that in reality, nothing turns out the way you would expect it to. I am not saying that one should not have certain expectations or still attempt to plan things, but rather accept that your best plans are not going to go exactly the way you might have hoped, and that it is okay for things to be different than you had imagined.
Graduate school is nothing that I had hoped it would be. Many opportunities I thought I would've had did not happen, and my expectations for certain programs and things I was involved in also did not live up to my expectations.
Despite this though, I cannot deny that I still will have the same education I planned on having and the same degree come May. I am not sure if I believe in "things happening for a reason" and the whole philosophy of fate, but I do think that everything ends up working out and that extra stress and anxiety over unmet expectations is not healthy and can be a waste of time and energy.
In life in general, I have found that my best experiences have been the ones that I did not entirely plan, or went into with little expectations or preferences, but instead just let the experience happen, such as traveling or taking a class that might not have been required but appeared interesting.
I have tried to live this way, and it is difficult sometimes as you have to plan and be meticulous about things occasionally, especially when dealing with your career. But I still try to remember that even with the best plans and expectations, not everything will turn out the way I'd hope for and if I don't accept this then I will have to face disappointment constantly.
Low expectations is not what I am advocating for, but I believe that setting high expectations that will never be met is not realistic and can only lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness in life. In order to be happier and have less stress, it is important to take a step back and realize that things will work out.