The Big Picture: Letting go of plans and living in the moment

By: Annie Sragner, Assistant Arts and Life Editor

Time has a mysteriously beautiful way of taking care of things. Think of that big obstacle you were worried about a couple months ago. It has probably settled and passed into memory.

I am a person who loves plans. I love the process of making plans and having something to look forward to in the future. I consider my life a collection of memories that I keep recorded in my journal or in my memory bank. I want to do as much as I possibly can while I can, which is why I often stress when things do not go according to plan.

Last summer, I went to Bonnaroo, a 4-day music festival in Tennessee. There were tons of bands I wanted to see, and to see them all required following a strict schedule. So I planned accordingly.

On the second morning, I woke up to see a group of people crowded around a table near my campsite playing a giant game of Jenga with big wooden bricks. I walked over to introduce myself and ended up spending the rest of the day and a good portion of my weekend with these new friends. My music plans were altered some, but I didn’t mind that much.

Some of my most fun memories occurred when I stopped worrying about what I had to do and stayed true to the possibilities of each moment, like meeting those great people in Tennessee.

But life in college revolves around planning, arranging our schedules as needed in order to succeed in our classes. In this type of situation, straying from the prescribed “plan” is usually not negotiable. It’s often difficult to refrain from carrying this strict mindset into other parts of our lives. But for 2015, I’m going to resist.

If weekend plans are not set in stone by Thursday morning, many panic and assume the weekend is wasted (no pun intended). This is actually the perfect opportunity to let life take us instead of us taking life. Freedom from a plan is usually where unexpected wonder arises.

Instead of maintaining awareness of where you are going, make sure you are where you need to be now. Each little decision made in each new moment is an opportunity to take our lives in a completely new and possibly wonderful direction.

Stay open to possible sidetracks, and watch for them. The actual architecture of the present moment often turns out better than the pre-proposed blueprint of the future. When you stress about the details of the execution, you miss the experience.

 

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