“You can’t write a script in your mind and then force yourself to follow it. You have to let yourself be.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I’ve never been the kind of person to have a life plan. At least, not since life threw enough curve balls for me to give up on the idea of a plan. Plans are different from dreams and goals and bucket lists. Plans involve specific expectations and inevitable disappointment should the plan not come to fruition. They don’t allow for questions. They pretend to have all the answers and expect your heart to already know what to do next.
I often get asked by friends and family what my ‘plan’ is. To quote a friend: “How long are you going to be away? You can’t do what you’re doing forever. You need to make a plan.”
The problem is, I can’t identify one person in my life who has followed their plan. I don’t know anyone who’s life has worked out exactly how they wanted. And, when it doesn’t work out, they panic and swiftly re-evaluate and create another alternative, adjusted plan, desperately finding temporary answers to the questions in their lives.
I’ve learned a lot about letting things be. I’ve learned that letting things be allows for spontaneous moments that I could never predict and people I could never have planned on.
I’m also learning to live in the questions. I’m not meant to have all the answers and sometimes the ‘not knowing’ leads to better places and people and experiences. I never expected or planned to be in Tanzania. I do not know how long I will be here or where I will find myself next.
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke,
I’d rather live in the question and live out my curiosity than plan out what my life will be.