Opinion: 3 things to do when life doesn’t go ‘as planned’

If you were to tell my ten year old self that I wouldn’t be living in an apartment at 18 and getting engaged to “High School Musical” curly haired actor, Corbin Bleu at 22,  I’d probably think you were crazy. Alas, twelve years later, Corbin Bleu is happily married — not to me — and I’ll be moving out of my parent’s home for the first time at 22. Life doesn’t always go our way — and that’s okay. 

There’s an old saying which claims, we are the authors of our life stories. However, I find life has far too many plot twists for this to be completely true. Rather,  I liken life to a choose your own adventure tale, where the story is already written but you can choose how you’ll react to the situations presented to you. In that sense, we are co-authors with fate. How we react to the curve balls life throws at us is crucial to our ability to grow and progress through our story. 

Will you hit the ball and keep running or you will you stop playing because it’s not what you expected? 

But I understand — this is often easier said than done. Some situations we face in life are incredibly hard. If you find yourself stuck when life doesn’t go your way here are a few tips that may help:

Remember to breathe 

When I learned the final class I needed to complete my minor had been cancelled — I panicked. My breaths became short and shallow as thoughts of what this would mean for graduation and my ability to start a job raced through my mind. So I tried slow and deep breaths. After I took control of my breathing, I was able to drum up a few alternative solutions. Sometimes, you just need to take a deep breath to work your way through a rough patch. Breathing exercises are a great way to reduce anxiety and stress. Try to take slow, deep breaths and take a minute to think if you find yourself frustrated with an unexpected turn of events.

Don’t Shy Away From Help

It’s okay to seek out help or advice. When my grandmother died during finals week last Spring, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I’m grateful for the professors, family and friends I have as they helped me get through the rest of the quarter. If you’re struggling, reach out to a trusted family member, friend, councilor, therapist or clergy for help.

Keep Going

Often we find ourselves fighting life — determined to tell it what to do rather than letting it be. But if we continue to do this we miss out on how beautiful life can be and the opportunities it can bring. Don’t hone in on the negative. Cherish your life, each moment and always choose something that will propel you forward.