The strange feeling of not knowing for how long you will be stuck in a place helped me get rid of my need to control everything and make 5-year plans.
You have all heard that popular interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years from today?” and almost everyone says the same lie “Successful, married with 2 kids” or the alternative “Travel the world, explore, learn”. The truth is that any answer to that specific question is a lie.
I was one of those people who had a plan for almost everything. I wanted to know where we going, when we are going, and what time we are arriving. I planned and planned and planned even the smallest things.
And back in 2018 life showed me that you are not supposed to have a plan for everything. So I moved to Italy and just altered my plans a bit.
Fast forward to March 2020 I was packing my suitcase for a long 1-month vacation with the family. I thought to myself, my parents’ house is well stocked with all kinds of food, I don’t pay rent, and on top of everything, my laundry will be sparkling clean all the time. Genious.
So I came home, enjoyed the first 5 days of my stay, and then boom — lockdown.
At first, I was panicking not to get ill or God forbid someone from my family gets the virus but from the other side I was thinking — “I will save some cash as well, I am lucky enough to have a job and this won’t disrupt my plans in any possible way”.
Next thing you know, my boss calls me at 11 pm to inform me that our odds just changed and we are now losing big money and the company is at risk. The workaholic I am though “no problem, I am home, I have time, I will do whatever it takes to keep everything together”. I was even encouraging my boss and everyone around me to stop worrying, don’t go out and work, work, work. In my head, I was already imagining my summer vacation, three margaritas at the bar (don’t judge it was a hard period), and my friends.
Next was the first cancelation. I woke up to “We regret to inform you but your flight is canceled, please click here to start rebooking”. “Okay” — I thought “I will just reschedule for 1 week and that’s it. This will not mess up my plans”.
But as days went by, there was one cancellation after another. Not only flight to Italy but also all my other flights. The numbers were skyrocketing, the prime minister on TV was saying that we may stay at home until next year, the news reporters were blasting the TV screens with bombastic titles, New York Times publishes a list of deaths… I collapsed.
My plans, my perfectly planned timeline of events for 2020 was crumbling down. There wasn’t any pay raise, no vacation, the milestones at work were disregarded and we shifted in survival mode, my suitcase was just sitting in the middle…
I can’t even explain the horror in my head when I realized that I don’t know the date when I will be allowed to leave the country. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t complain about the free breakfast and warm bed I have here but for a person who lives from planing the reality was horrifying.
Anyways, after a few weeks of spiraling in and out of dark mode, I came to terms with my reality.
Although planning is good and it is not recommended to just jump here and there, too much planning can be detrimental.
Panning every single detail will inevitably lead to many disappointment in life and often things just don’t turn as we like them.
At the end of the day, I accepted to move away from obsessively planning every single detail and just plan short term.
Plan for the small things and let me surprised by the big things.
Learn to navigate and grow in every situation.
What have you learned from the lockdown? Share it in the comments below.