If things don’t go the way you were hoping, do you fall apart? If you have a life goal that you suddenly are not going to be able to achieve, how are you going to react. Will it crush you, or do you not care? I imagine that you are somewhere in between, and probably part of what factors into how you respond is going to be based on what obstacle is now in your way.
It is one thing if you don’t get into the University that you wanted, it is quite another when you are diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness, and the chances that you are going to be around to accomplish whatever you want is now compromised.
Things derail for me all the time. It’s not that uncommon, as it the case for everyone in the world. The best laid plans… right? There is a reason that this is a saying, because very rarely are the things you have planned out going to play out the way you are hoping. The main thing you can do, is adapt, and move with the change. It’s hard if you have emotional investment in whatever outcome you wanted, but it is something that will make your life far more fluid.
Part of the difference that I have seen is how I view goals, versus how those around me do. For me, they are an idea. Somewhere that might be interesting should it ever come to pass, but if it doesn’t, there isn’t a loss for me. Once upon a time I was a dancer. I was pretty good at it, and of course when you are good at something, people start planning your life for you. You have talent in something, and now in a lot of people’s minds, that defines you. Well, that was the case with me and dancing.
When I was dancing, I was viewed it as a challenge. I wanted to do better than I did yesterday, and pushed I myself. That came back on me pretty hard in the form of doctors telling me that I either quite dancing, or plan on not walking by the time I was thirty. That didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. Now, here is where it gets interesting.
The people around me, my mistress (ballet mistress), my family, other dancers, my friends, all reacted to this as though it was the end of the world, and when I didn’t, they had no idea how to deal with me. I will admit, there is a very vast disparity between how I partake in things, and how others do. For instance, I never had a passion for dancing. I enjoyed it of course, but because I am psychopathic there is no deeply felt love for anything, so there is no deeply felt loss either.
While I can understand that deeply felt emotion is one of the things that brings great joy to a neurotypical person’s life, it is the very same thing that brings a great deal of pain I estimate. I can’t do anything about that part for you, and as it seems like the bad comes with some good, I don’t see why that should have to change. When you lose something that you were invested in, in this case a goal, it is appropriate to mourn it.
Imagine this, you have been focused on being a lawyer your whole life. Everything in your educational process was meant to facilitate that goal, until you were faced with one professor that was tough as nails. There was nothing above a B- grade in his class that was ever handed out, but if you don’t make at least a B, you are out of the running for the top level graduate in the prestigious school you are so fortunately attending. You know you can’t get that grade, because he will not give it out to almost anyone, regardless of how well they do, he can tear them down and send them home bleeding.
So… you cheat. It’s just once, and it’s for a good cause. You know that you aren’t at the level of student that would get that B- even on a good day. But your Mom’s been sick, your Dad’s stressed out, and you haven’t had one solid night of studying for two weeks. You aren’t prepared to hand in that paper that is due, and you are about to flunk out… so you cheat… and he catches you immediately.
You see, you aren’t as smart as you thought you were, and this professor has seen every form of plagiarism that there is. You aren’t new, and you aren’t different, you just thought that you were, and now you’re caught. Now what? Will you try to negotiate with him? You saw another plagiarist get caught earlier in the semester, and he had no mercy.. No matter the apology, it got that student expelled, and you’re next. Your career as a top level, Harvard graduate lawyer, making partner before their thirty is over with. You will be lucky to land paralegal at a no name law firm as far as you’re concerned.
Is your life over? Can you recover from this devastating loss of your own making? Or will it crush you like glass and leave you shattered on the street? In that moment you might think your life is over, that there is no recovering from that blow, but really, it’s just one event of many that will come to visit you in your life. You can take them as horrible events, or you can just look past them and see where you can get to from your new vantage point.
Life is a river. No, it’s a roaring monster of rapids, steep drops, and sharp turns. It’s fun, but if you feel fear, it’s scary. You can drag your kayak onto the shore line and hope that the raging flood calms down, or you can embrace the ride and see how to navigate it. You might get pulled under a few times. Are you dead? No? Then keep going.
I’m alive. I can work with this.
That should be your thought process. What can I do in this situation that is going to get my feet one foot forward, instead of backwards. It’s easy to get washed away. The current wants to drag you along with it, and if you let go and let it, it will wash you into oblivion.
However. If you decide that living, going forward, finding the next spot of calm is worth it, you can see some amazing sites along the way, you will see what you are made of in the journey, and you will know, no matter how fast the water, no matter how sharp the curve, no matter how steep the drop…
You got this.