At the beginning of my contract, I thought I had everything all planned out. I had options for apartments that I would move into, people that I’d come home to, and jobs that I had done informational interviews for. I thought this six months on board would be a one-time thing and I’d get back to “normal life” in Seattle. I had this idealistic image of what the next chapter of my life was going to look like and I wanted it to be that way right now, I really did. I had a very focused plan on how to make this plan become real as soon as my contract was over.
But what’s that saying? “Life happens when you’re busy making plans”. Well, right now, I’m the poster board model for that saying. Its throwing me off, and I’m unfortunately coming to the realization that sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you try to make something happen, if it’s not meant to, it won’t.
I’m Not Living on a Timeline
I’m a planner, I’ve always been one. I like to know where my life is going and what comes next at every moment. When I got into my last year of college, I had the next three aspects of my life already figured out. I considered all my options and figured out step by step where I wanted my life would go next, and did the work to try to make that happen. I know myself, and I have always been uncomfortable without a plan.
So, when graduation was nearing, I was ready; I was going to move to New Zealand for an internship, return home and save money for six months and teach ice skating. Okay, check – I did all that. While I was teaching, I decided I wanted to take the opportunity to train for an ice show and see where that lead.
As you know, I’m here on the Oasis of the Seas, working for Royal Caribbean as part of the ice cast. Before I left, I mapped out what came next, or at least what I thought came next. I did informational interviews for my future career, toured apartment complexes for my future stay, (of course, decided I’d get a puppy as soon as I got home) and did all of this with my person.
Well shit, life is complicated and catches you by surprise.
My life is making a complete one-eighty. What I thought I wanted isn’t the same. The timeline I made for myself isn’t playing out how I expected. Everything I want at home is still the same, I just don’t want it yet. In the last few months I’ve been on this contract, I realized that this is what I need right now for a bit, the rest will come, just not quite yet. I hope everything will all still be there waiting for me just the same when I return, but unfortunately, as I’m realizing, I just can’t plan that out.
For now, I’m erasing the timeline of where I thought I would be, and am enjoying (or trying to enjoy) where I currently am, taking it one step at a time.
I Will Feel Less Disappointed
As much as these new opportunities in front of me are truly a dream come true, it doesn’t take away the feeling of disappointment about life at home moving further and further away from me. In my opinion, when certain expectations are set for our lives, we end up creating an opportunity for disappointment if it doesn’t work out. Just because better or different opportunities arise, doesn’t mean that it’s easy to let the rest go.
It Won’t Limit My Options
The most important thing I’m learning is that it is essential to set goals, but do so in a way that leaves room for something greater to come along. This is easier for some more than others, me being part of the “others”. Expectations of how life should be, makes it more difficult to open yourself up to what’s in front of you. This is challenging because it requires trust that letting go will give you what you need.
There are so many factors that impact life positively and negatively, and we can’t anticipate the future and the opportunities that will come from it. By letting go of our plans, we can take hold of what comes right at us. Closing our minds, block out opportunities and keep us from living in the moment in every aspect of life.
As I mentioned, when I first got on the ship, I had this big plan. In the first two weeks, I was doted on, told about my potential for a life of traveling and performing. It scared the shit out of me. I didn’t accept the compliments because I didn’t want it to change my plan. How stupid is that?
Someone is telling me that my potential to grow in a company and a lifestyle that is a dream come true, scares me and is something I don’t want because it wasn’t my plan? Exactly. Hence why I am trying to throw away my plans and move forward to answer when doors open, like this one.
No plans are the best plans, or at least that’s what they say…
Life Shouldn’t Be Put on Hold
A little over a month into my contract, after one of the best shows I’ve performed, I had a little meltdown. I got off the ice, put away my costumes, and felt this rush of sadness and guilt. I felt guilty that what I wanted before I came to life onboard was completely different than what I want now. I felt torn about living out my dream right now, and abandoning what I had at home. It was so ridiculous and uncomfortable. I sat on these feelings for a while, having this reoccurring feeling of guilt after every show. I finally said something, and decided I needed to make a change in my plans and just enjoy where I am now.
Fixating on the future is time consuming and makes you absent-minded of the moment you’re in. Instead of being present in the moment, we try to anticipate the next one. It’s like we’re never satisfied with what we have, we always need the next thing. We get one thing, and already think, okay, so now what?
Living in the moment is one of the most difficult things for a lot of us, and a huge challenge for me personally. I realized that I’m not fully enjoying something I’ve dreamed about my whole life, because I’m torn about the fact that what I thought three months ago would happen, is completely different.
I mean, it’s pretty absurd right? People dream about a life of getting paid to travel and actually enjoy your job. All I wanted as a little girl was to be an ice princess under the spotlight, and now that’s exactly what I am, but I’m stressed about my changing plans or worried about what I’m doing next. It doesn’t make any sense.
Know What You Need
If you couldn’t tell in this post, I’m confused now more than ever about how to live in the moment and let go of plans. I’m hoping that writing it out will help me trust in the truth of it all. One of the only pieces of advice I can provide that I’m confident in, is that you need to know yourself and trust what you need. If what was making you happy before isn’t providing you with that same feeling, than it isn’t right anymore. Be aware of when you lose focus on living in the moment and instead think about the things that are out of your control. Don’t look at where your life isn’t going anymore and starting embracing where it is. Sort out what’s going on inside to settle those feelings of fear and insecurity. It’s extremely challenging, but I can promise that it’s the right thing to do.
Each day that’s what I’m focusing on and we’ll see how it goes. Any advice you have on making it easier, I’m all ears.