As is the case with all clichés, you’ve probably already heard this hundreds of times from countless movies, books and well-meaning people, but there’s no running away from the fact that life doesn’t always go as planned. It doesn’t matter if you’ve marked it on all your calendars and that you’ve marked the predicted dates with pink hearts and colourful post-it labels. It doesn’t matter that you’ve dedicated an entire hardcover journal to your life’s blueprints detailing what you have in mind for the next five years. Nor does it take into consideration that you’ve got eight other steps relying on this next one and that if this doesn’t happen, then none of them will. Life itself is a cliché and to rub more salt into the wound, Heraclitus once said, “The only thing that is constant is change”. And he was right.

A while ago, a plan which took a long while coming fell through and left me shook shaken to the core. I had plans on top of plans related to this specific move and all of a sudden the door which seemed so inviting up until two seconds ago, sealed itself closed and it also felt like every other door flew shut as well. It took a day or so before I felt the colour seep back into my face and other feelings came into play. After much contemplating, I realized that maybe I wasn’t as ready to take the leap as I initially thought I was, and that perhaps this slight change of plans was actually a blessing in disguise, a sign from the universe. Being released from my “plans” gave me the freedom to truly understand how I felt instead of forcing myself to feel a certain way to accommodate the contents of my organizer.

Sometimes we put so much pressure to carry out what we have in mind because of the sheer amount of effort put into the execution, that we rarely think of taking a breather and letting our common sense and logic have a say. We place so much significance to these plans that without noticing it, we feel an obligation to stick by them, without even realizing that we no longer feel the same.

Give yourself leeway to slow down and pull up to one side instead of rushing bumper first simply because the circles on your calendar told you to do so. Ask yourself if this is what you still want. And if the answer is yes, then go along on your merry way. If it isn’t, then it is completely okay to regroup your thoughts and consider different routes instead which will still get you to your ultimate goal.

While plans are a little less flexible, goals can always be altered and modified at any time. Or they can remain a constant that you work towards. But whether it’s your plans or goals that fall through, like all the badly photoshopped Facebook quotes in the world will tell you, “It’s the way you respond to a situation that matters the most” and also, a personal favourite, “Fall seven times, stand up eight”. And as the highly acclaimed rapper/modern day philosopher Big Sean would delicately put it, “If you a real one, then you know how to bounce back”, which is the most vital part of the process anyway.