Most people are familiar with some phrase along the lines of 'you make plans and God laughs'.
It's a popular saying because it feels pretty accurate to how life can be sometimes. We carefully map out our futures, design precise schedules down to the second and have a general idea of where we want to end up in life. Then we start what should be a straight-forward journey and instead find ourselves on a rollercoaster with ups, downs and surprising loops.
I've noticed there are 3 different types of life riders: the enjoyers, the passengers, and the controllers.
The first are the ones who find the unknowable twists and turns to be exciting and can't wait to see what happens next and where they end up.
The second are simply along for the ride and don't resist the ups and downs, but rather go with the flow.
The last are the ones who attempt to predict the changes of the rollercoaster, and spend the ride trying to gain some concept of control over it.
These are three pretty generalized descriptions, I know. Most people don't fall under one category, either, but are some varying mix of all three types. Certain challenges can cause different reactions from people because we're all figuring out how to do life for the first time.
None of the listed 'types' are better than the other. But there is something to be learned from each one. Over the next few posts, I'm going to unpack what we can learn from each type of 'life rider'.
This week, I want to focus on the 'Enjoyer'. This is the person who sees the sunny side of things, finds the silver lining in the hard parts and seems to view the future with endless hope.
From the enjoyer, we can:
Learn to find the bright spots in the dark and uncertain.
There are times where we will look forward in life and view the future as a dark, cloudy question mark. While we are climbing uphill through the fog to an uncertain end, it can be easy to give into anxiety, stress and fear. It's easy to lose motivation when it feels like we are working hard but aren't seeing any results.
In those moments, try to find the parts of life that make it worthwhile. Refocus on the parts of your work and dreams that you enjoy. You may not think you're making progress, but even the smallest step is still a step forward.
Allow yourself to hope and dream wildly.
It's easy to look at the unknown future and imagine where we will be when we haven't succeeded. In an attempt to be 'realistic', people can inadvertently shoot themselves (or others) down while focusing too much on how hard it can be to achieve their goals. I find that I fall victim to this a lot.
And for the most part, this is driven out of the fear that I will get my hopes up only to see them crash and burn.
Now, that is a completely valid worry and fear to have. Nobody wants to get their dreams crushed or their hearts broken; it's natural to want to stay safe and protected. But when you avoid risks and putting yourself out there entirely, you ensure that your dreams will never come true.
You may try and it not work out, sure. But if you never try ever, then it will be impossible for things to work out.
Give yourself the space to view your future with hope, and dream as big as you are capable of. Instead of letting yourself get bogged down by the negative thoughts and fears of never being able to do it, ask yourself instead:
What if I do?
Don't ride through life alone.
One of the most defining aspects of an enjoyer is that not only do they allow themselves to live with excitement, but they love sharing that excitement with others.
Think about the last super fun, crazy, unexpected rollercoaster you went on (or something else exciting if you aren't into rollercoasters) and imagine doing it alone. Probably a good time. But now imagine doing it with all your best friends, and I bet it becomes an amazing, awesome party.
That's how life is. We can technically do it alone, sure. We can even manage to stay positive and hopeful by ourselves.
But why do that when you can share the ride with your loved ones?
When we ride through life with friends and family, we have a support system to help us continue to enjoy the ride. There will be someone to lean on and help you carry the burdens of living when it gets too hard alone. When we're with others, we have the chance to help someone else refocus on the current good around them instead of intimidating aspects of the unknown.
Most of all, we have someone to celebrate with when we finally do break through the cloudy future and find ourselves exactly where we want and need to be.
There is no one right way to go through life. Everyone reaches their goals and dreams at different paces and through varying routes. What works for one may not necessarily work for another. What is a satisfying destination for one person might just be a stepping stone for someone else.
So instead of letting yourself be stressed about not being where you want to be or falling under the seemingly overwhelming tasks you need to do, take a step back.
Try to focus on the things that make life enjoyable and allow yourself to believe that you will end up exactly where you need to be.