Last updated on April 9th, 2019 at 06:50 am

I used to think that everything happened for a reason—that fate was life’s definitive pilot. I believed there was a blueprint for my life and that I merely moved through it as planned. I think I was the way a lot of people are nowadays: here, sensing, thinking and doing, but not actually being.

Too often, we accept that things in life happen when they do, and so, we wait for what’s next to come to us.

We wait for life to happen to us 

I’ve waited for things to happen to me.

I was waiting to go to university. I was waiting to graduate. I was waiting to get a job. I was waiting to get a better job. Waiting was what I needed to do, because the blueprint had already been drawn. It was only a matter of time before I meandered down the next prophesied hallway. I had to wait. I had to be patient.

The only thing is, I’m not a patient person. I never have been and I don’t think I ever will be. I was impatient and I had to wait—queue tortuously strong feelings of frustration, despair and despondency.

I put up with these feelings. I put up with feeling angry at the fact that I had to wait because it was what we all had to do. Waiting was part of life.

I went to school and graduated. I registered with my professional organization. I got a job, then got promoted. I went to work and came home to eat the same thing for dinner every day before going to sleep.

Day in and day out, I waited.

Do we really need to follow a blueprint? 

One day, I came home from work, made the same supper, turned on the TV and ended up watching a show about a man who was travelling around the world relying solely on kindness. He had no money, no plans, and no idea of what could happen, just the knowledge in his heart that people are inherently good and that love would get him where he needed to go.

This man would find himself in outlandish situations and somehow, he’d come across the right person who would help him out—give him food, shelter, gas, directions.

My initial thought: It’s all part of his blueprint. I honestly chalked his adventure up to the whole “what’s meant to happen will happen” way of thinking.

I kept watching the show and then one day it dawned on me—maybe I’ve got it all backwards! This guy put himself in these places, in the path of these people so that he ended up in these seemingly surreal situations. He was making his adventure happen!

Things don’t always happen to me—I can make things happen to me. I acknowledge that yes, people get sick, horrific accidents happen and sometimes we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. But what I hadn’t considered before is that outside of these seemingly unavoidable realities, we have all-inclusive, downright unabridged control over what happens to us. We have the chance to scribble all over the blueprint!

The blueprint I was fixated on was really just a series of expectations I set for myself, sparked by my perception of what I thought I ought to do in today’s society. And until very recently, I chased that blueprint. I chased it until I realized that right now, what’s on it isn’t what I want to happen to me.

Covering my blueprint with doodles

After that realization, I changed my way of thinking about life.

I halted the construction of a life that didn’t feel right and I started doodling all over my blueprint. I started thinking about everything I wanted to do in life—the wild, the irrational, the impulsive. Then I started making things happen to me.

I put myself in the way of my goals, ensuring that they had nowhere to go but right through me. I pursued writing and Yoga teaching. I booked trips, I tried foods I’d never dreamed of putting in my mouth and I slept under the stars. I freed myself from my past and I stopped setting deadlines for milestones.

I started honouring my impatience. I stopped waiting and suddenly, being impatient was something I loved about myself. I used to sense, think and do. Now I breathe, feel and be. I like this a whole lot better!

Some things actually don’t happen for a reason—they happen because we make them happen.

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image: Blueprints by Sam Howzit via Flickr  (CC BY 2.0)