For as long as I can remember, I imagined my life going a little something like this: Start my four years at college. Meet the man of my dreams. Fall madly in love. Graduate with a nursing degree. Start my dream job. Oh also, Prince Charming and I would move to our city of choice and we would live happily ever after.

Then reality hit.

There was no way I could be a nurse. I don’t enjoy touching people, I hate needles, and I’m too much of a germaphobe. So much for my dream job. After a few panic attacks and acne-stress breakouts, I realized my future plans weren’t as I had forever hoped them to be.

I decided to study marketing and advertising. Coming from a family of medical professionals, I knew nothing about targeting market segments or analyzing marketing channels. However, I was eager to learn and I knew I would ultimately be happier creating advertisements rather than checking a patient’s vitals all day.  A few semesters down and I was still enjoying my decision to slightly change my life plan. I was determined to graduate in four years and automatically have the career of my dreams.

FALSE. As of two weeks ago, another reality hit.

After hours of job searching and stressing over finding the perfect job and, interviewing, and being turned down one too many times, my attitude changed. It was Christmas break and I was home with my family when I received a call notifying me I didn’t get a job offer from the company I was planning on working for. I sat in my kitchen with my head resting on my mom’s lap as she comforted me. I remember her whisper in my ear, “Everything happens for a reason, Caraline.” I realized that planning and stressing about my future was pointless. I decided all I could do was try my best and let things fall into place. From that point on, I decided to take one step at a time and enjoy each experience presented to me.

So, here I am. I’m three months from graduation and this is my status:

  1. I don’t have a job; nonetheless I am fairly certain when I do get a job, it won’t be my dream job.
  2. The dream of moving to my “city of choice” is now no longer in my hands but will be determined by the outcome of #1.
  3. This so called “prince charming,” yeah I haven’t met him yet.

Two weeks ago, I would have been stressed, terrified, and probably would have resulted in self-diagnosing anxiety that I actually didn’t have.  

Now, I see my future as an opportunity. I realized that life shouldn’t be lived as a “to-do list,” but rather as an opportunity. An opportunity to try different things, learn from different experiences, and accept life as it’s thrown your way.
Most importantly, I realized that it’s okay not to know.