I am a 25 year old, hot, single and fashionable writer living in my own swanky downtown Chicago loft. I am constantly sought out by the fanciest, most established magazines around the U.S.
I am so busy with writing projects that it’s difficult to meet deadlines. My email is blowing up with requests, and I am being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for my endless words of wisdom on hair, makeup and fashion. I am overflowing with such fabulous ideas, that I can’t even keep up with the genius inside me.
Occasionally I glance up at my epic view of the city in between sips of coffee and daydream about the next handbag that is destined to be mine.
As evening approaches I wander barefoot into my spacious kitchen, which is, by the way, fully equipped with granite countertops and the most elaborate appliances and storage. I barely use any of them except for the microwave (which is also very fancy), so I reach into my freezer (one huge drawer for ice and food) and grab my microwaveable mac n’ cheese.
As dinner “cooks” I slip on my red leather pumps and throw a few curls into my hair. I am SO ready for that vodka martini, extra dry on the rocks (and don’t forget my olives please!). The microwave beeps as I tuck my lipstick into the side pocket of my Louis Vuitton purse. The clock is ticking, fifteen minutes to eat my noodles n’ fake cheese before I have to meet the girls at the martini lounge. Nothing like a long, hard day of writing followed by a cocktail with the ladies!
As I eat, Mom and Dad call on speakerphone to ask when they can come visit. They sound ecstatic, finishing each other’s sentences and speaking in tandem as if we are the freaking Brady Bunch. We say love you, bye! And I move forward with the evening, feeling like I’m taking a ride on a unicorn because life is just so darn wonderful (So THIS is what it’s like to be an adult)!
I go out and meet some boys, they are just ok. One in particular walks me home, I kiss him and toss him to the curb. I have more important things to do with my life than get involved with boys.
1am rolls around and I am spent. I have to be up at nine to start writing, so I pop an aspirin for my future headache, chug some city water and collapse in my king sized memory foam bed.
Upon waking I can see the sunrise through my front wall-sized windows. I stumble out of bed, brew some much needed coffee, and sit at my computer to start my once again long, hard day of writing in the Windy City.
Then Jacqui’s message pops up: How you feeling this morning, girl? I am totally hungover. That Dan guy though…he was HOT! Did you two hook up? Sorry I was so out of it last night. Richard was hitting on another girl…so I told her she was a skank. It didn’t end well. That last shot really helped. 100% ladies night tonight. Where we meeting? ~Jacq
And so, tis life in my twenties.
These were the “plans” I had dreamed up when I was in my late teens. I planned to go to college, major in English or journalism, get a great job in Chicago and enjoy city life the single way for a while. I’d live right in the heart of downtown, where all the action took place. I’d swank it up with all my fancy friends, take full advantage of the night life, eat and drink whatever the hell I wanted to my heart’s content, not exercise and at the same time stay healthy and fit.
I’d be fully independent, established and confident at the wise old age of 25. I’d have tons of money and a great family life as my parents would live happily ever after forever in their too-large four bedroom house in Farmington Hills. My social life would be on point, and despite how much vodka I drank, I’d still have enough energy and brain power to be the unbelievable writer I predicted myself to be. And, despite being a twenty-something, I would be single and would not have a boyfriend until I was 30 and found “the one.”
I’d wear designer clothes and carry designer purses. I’d drink lots of coffee.
Bottom line, I’d be awesome and would have no worries in life ever, because life is like rainbows and roses and unicorns.
I went to college. I was totally confused and drank tons of booze and stayed up til 3am and ate pizza and fried food and got really, REALLY sick. I couldn’t decide on my major because I was too tired from boozing and eating crap and staying up late every night. I failed a class. I lost my scholarship. I dated a guy who was verbally abusive and manipulative…and I thought he was “the one” at a certain point in time. I fell into a deep depression and had horrible anxiety. The experience of being a true adult came on full force within three months of moving out of my parents’ house.
I didn’t major in journalism. I majored in fine arts and never have I ever used that degree for a specific purpose other than to say I graduated from college.
Despite my “plan” of not letting boys into my world until I was 30, I met “the one” when I was 21 years old and was married when I was 25. And, we didn’t move to Chicago. Instead we stayed in Detroit and lived there together for nine years. Our first apartment was a dumpy old one bedroom ground floor apartment that felt like a basement. Needless to say, there was no sunrise view.
I never wore designer clothes or carried designer purses or even cared about those things for more than a second. I could never live off mac n’ cheese and coffee, or I would die or just be taking lots of prescription drugs to survive. And, I barely drink alcohol anymore. I think you can guess why…ok I’ll tell you. It makes me feel like crap and I don’t love that.
Finally, by the time I was 27 my parents were divorcing, and the house I once knew as home has been long gone for years. Come to find out, my parents did not like each other enough to stay together after their kids were gone, and they certainly never finished each other’s sentences.
Turns out life is not rainbows and roses and kittens and unicorns. Life is real. And it will throw you a curve ball at any given moment in time.
I know this might sound a bit depressing, but the point I am trying to make here is that plans will be plans. You can plan as long and hard as you have the energy to. You can cook up the greatest fantasy in your mind. You can write down strategies and goals and timelines. And not that this won’t help you, it certainly will. But regardless of your plans, God/Universe/Spirit may have other plans for you that you may not be aware of in the slightest.
And get this: It’s all for your highest and best good, no matter what.
No matter how painful the experience, no matter how sudden or unexpected, no matter how different it is than what you had imagined, every experience happens to raise you UP. To make you grow stronger. To teach you the lessons you signed up to learn when you came here to this physical planet. To help you get to know yourself better. Ultimately, to put you in the right places, at the right times, with the right people, so you can be right with yourself and in the deepest part of your soul. And no one can take that away from you.
So I didn’t get that swanky loft in Chicago. So I don’t drink late night martinis with the ladies (although, that would be very nice sometimes ;) ). So I am not a writer (or, maybe I’m turning into one?). So I was not single and independent and rich at 25. So what?
I became a hairstylist at 23, and learned how to connect with others on a deeply personal and professional level. I met two of my very best friends in that business, both of whom are still two of my very best friends to this day. I never made a ton of money, but I did get to be a part of the beauty industry which was really, really fun and kind of swanky at times. I married my best friend at the young age of 25. And he is my heart. He makes me laugh. He takes better care of me than anyone could. He is my best friend, and I am grateful for him every day.
At the age of 32 we moved to Seattle. Still no swanky apartment in the city. But instead a sweet, homey and cozy condo in the suburbs where we have met tons of dear and lifelong friends. I don’t drink coffee but herbal tea and chai almond lattes are my jam. I don’t eat mac n’ cheese but I can cook up a mean bowl of gluten free noodles with homemade pesto sauce. Still not a writer (or, again, maybe I should consider it?), but I am a holistic practitioner and yoga teacher which I think is pretty awesome and I absolutely love love LOVE what I do.
Still have never been rich, and no I don’t have businesses blowing up my inbox with job opportunities, but I am happy. I am content. I love my life, and I have learned an endless amount of lessons along my journey.
I truly feel a connection with God, and now I am aware after almost 37 years of being alive, that with every hardship comes a lesson. With every struggle there is a growth opportunity. With every moment we feel weak, it is so we can become strong. And every plan that crumbles plants a new seed for us to grow and blossom.
So plans will be plans. Use them as a guide. Follow them to your heart’s content. And, be ready for something even better to come along. And whether it is painful or not is irrelevant. Look at the big picture. God has plans for you, all you have to do is listen and respond.