This Eid, We’re Taking a Break From Planning Our Futures and So Should You

By: Ali Sakr

Before I begin, I’d just like to point out how awfully bold it is of me to attempt to write this 30 minutes after having gone on a mini college hunt in which I tried to finally find out where I’ll be applying for university. One could argue that this might even be hypocritical, but I beg to differ. What better way to give useful advice than to need it yourself? This is a problem, among many, that I personally have, so it’s about damn time I get to solving it. And like, maybe I’ll say something of use to someone who isn’t me in the process. Ok, now we can begin.

The main thing with planning is that no matter how hard you try, there’s little to no chance things will end up how you envisioned them to. Probably not even close. You might think you’ve accounted for every single detail. You might think you’ve left not a stone unturned. But you’re wrong. You always are, because life is just like that sometimes. It’s incredibly random, always unexpected and quite literally all over the place. Hell, the fact that an entire plan of action, be it tomorrow’s to-do list or your post-retirement bucket list can depend on just your mood means it can go haywire in the same time it takes your mood t swing. That’s fast.

While it might sound like I’m discouraging from any kind of planning at all, and practically telling you to live as spontaneously as a wild alpaca, that isn’t quite the case either. I just mean that you need to consider the possibility that everything you expect or hope to happen will simply not, and that’s why it’s best not to let that get to you. When you spend so much time planning for the finest of details, the expectation that it’ll all happen gets subconsciously carved into your being. You start fantasizing about how much fun you’re going to have, or how successful you’re going to be, and end up doing nothing to actually make that happen.

So, 1- You’ll be discouraged when it doesn’t unfold as it did in your head and 2- You might get so caught up in the idea of it happening, that you don’t actually work for it and instead spend the entirety of your days planning. What else, you might be thinking? Well, just one more reason you need to take a break from planning your future. Stress.

A few months ago, there came a point when I convinced myself that I wouldn’t mind going to university here in Alexandria in the slightest, and that I’d just go for a Master’s Degree abroad instead. A few days ago, I was looking at the entry requirements of the 4th best University in the world. Even after I acknowledged the fact that I’m about as likely to go there as I am to finish all of the tasks on my to-do list any day this year, I still felt an insurmountable amount of pressure all of a sudden. I set an incredibly unrealistic expectation for myself to the point where it might have started affecting my performance, had I actually let I worry me. How did I manage to not let it worry me, you might also be thinking?

Well, I stopped. I took a break from planning and actually got a few things done, because unlike university which is still at least a good year and a few months away, I had much more imminent threats which needed to be dealt with. I’d suggest planning just enough that you have a general idea of what might possibly happen a few years from now, but not too much that it consumes your present life. How much is that exactly? I have no clue. In short, just be an alpaca sometimes.

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