Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
The beginning of a grin spread across my mom’s face as she floated down the aisle, ready to join hands with the love of her life. As she smiled at all the people she loved, the cry of a toddler pierced the air. “Mommy!” he yelled. The ring bearer screamed until his mother dragged him out of the room. The faint whimpers echoed as my mom took her final steps.
She looked out at the sea of pale faces and stifled giggles. Hearing the story as a little girl, I remember asking, “Was the wedding ruined?”
“Of course not,” my mom said, “It was just one moment of panic in a day full of joy.” Life happened, and my mom was able to adjust. The disaster has turned into a source of laughter as my family still makes fun of my cousin, now 25, to this day.
A lot of us try to plan our lives. From the classes we are going to take during the rest of our time at Marlborough to the programs we are going to do over the summer, we think about our futures down to the smallest detail.
This past summer, I decided to take a two-week backpacking trip. As a city girl who had never been camping, I felt like I was taking a major risk. Not only did I not know how to pitch a tent or light a fire, but I also had no idea whether I would find things in common with anyone there. During the trip, there were many times when we thought we were hiking the right way, but we got lost. Once, we reached the peak of a mountain just as a lightning storm was starting. We had planned to spend time admiring the view on top of the mountain, but we had to scramble back down. Another time, we were walking across a snow bank without realizing that there was a huge drop off to get to the land on the other side. I ended up sliding down feet first! We had to adjust to what we were given and persevere. The motto of our trip ended up being, “Semper Gumby,” in other words, “Always Flexible.”
I couldn’t have had fun on that trip if I hadn’t been able to put plans aside and go with the flow. I wouldn’t have even gone if I hadn’t been willing to take a risk. Without the challenges that I had to overcome, the trip would not have been as memorable. And if everything had gone exactly as planned, it would not have been as fun. I surprised myself with my map-reading skills and my peanut-sauce pasta expertise.
Most of the time, we steer ourselves in the direction we want to go and end up where we originally intended. But sometimes traffic makes us get there a little later than we had hoped. What we can always control is how we deal with the obstructions that stand in our way. We can choose to start a new path when we are dissatisfied with the first, or we can choose to persist. Recently, one of my close friends remarked, “Life is a journey.” I agree. The road blocks along the way are what make life exciting. The choices are what make life unique.