As my twentieth birthday approaches, I can’t help but think about the fact that I am leaving my “teen” years behind. For years, I wanted to be a grown up, I wanted to make a life for myself, and I wanted to have great success. Now, I’m just about to turn twenty, and it seems the grown up phase of my life is setting in. Twenty seems like a bigger stepping stone than when I turned eighteen, and was legally an adult. I realize eighteen was a special birthday in that I was able to vote, I graduated high school, I started college, and I moved away from home. So, in a nutshell, eighteen was great, but now twenty is here, and I feel like my twenties will be the GREAT years. This decade seems like a big transition period for most people, and I imagine my twenties will be similar. Why? Well, I plan to graduate college, move on to law school, get a job, maybe get married, etc. Right now, regardless of what I envision, I feel like anything is possible.
As I get nearer to this decade of my life, I can’t help but think about what I’ve accomplished this far, what I’ve failed at, and what I’ve experienced. It feels like SO much has happened in my nineteen years. There are some memories that stick out because they were simply amazing (like starting college), and there are others that stick out because they caused heartache, but also taught me so much about who I was, who I am, and where I’m going. There were moments that made me question the road I was on, and there were moments that changed my direction without me even realizing it until I ended up exactly where I needed to be. I had a conversation with someone back in November, and I said something to the effect of “in the grand scheme of this life, will any of this really matter someday?” I didn’t realize how much I meant those words until I spoke them.
I’m someone who tries to conceal my emotions most of the time, as I don’t particularly enjoy being hurt (although, who really does?). But when I invest my time and energy in something, I take it pretty hard when it doesn’t work out. This goes for work, school, relationships, friendships, etc. There are moments that define us, and there are moments that we think will define our future, but end up being such a minute detail. Sometimes the biggest moments are the smallest, and sometimes the smallest moments are the biggest. In the past nineteen years, I’ve planned and I’ve been disappointed, I’ve left it up to fate and I’ve been surprised. In life, we talk a lot about the grand scheme of things, but I don’t think I really understood what it meant until this year.
The Grand Scheme of Things isn’t about planning your life so completely that you end up planning every detail of every year to make sure you make no mistakes. The Grand Scheme of Things isn’t about pinpointing the moments when you grew into yourself or when you realized you changed. The Grand Scheme, at least as I’ve come to know it, is figuring out what’s important to you. The Grand Scheme is evaluating an event, and weighing all sides, and deciding if you’re going to be defeated or if you’re going to get up, fight back, and overcome every obstacle that’s been in your way thus far. There are moments that as they are happening, you think, “this is it. It’s all downhill from here. I’ve done my best, and I was just massacred.” Well, if you’re like me, then you’ve probably realized at some point that you’re only nineteen, and that if your thought process is “I cannot do better,” then you’re setting yourself up for failure time and time again. We have to continue to set the bar a little higher so that even when we reach our goals, we can continue reaching for something greater. I’m not saying to never be satisfied with what you have. I’m saying love what you have, appreciate what you have, but treat it like it’s fleeting, cherish it every day, and aspire to make it greater.
Is there such a thing as setting the bar too high? Only if you are disappointed with what you DO achieve. Be content, but not complacent. Be driven, but grateful. Remember, we all have the power to be happy, and we all have the power to make ourselves and our goals better and stronger. I’m so excited to begin the next phase of my life, and as I get there, I think I need to remind myself that although much of my teen years won’t affect The Grand Scheme, they’re still important years in my life.
How do you feel about The Grand Scheme? What’s it mean to you?