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COVID-19 Has Taught Me to Not Stress Over the Future

I Had a Very Specific Timeline For When Things Should Happen in My Life — Until COVID-19 Hit

When it comes to my personal life, I'm the definition of the term "Type A." I've always believed that laying out five- and 10-year plans would encourage me to achieve my personal goals in a timely manner. And whether it's saving enough money or hitting a specific career milestone, my biggest fear has always been falling behind. That is, until the pandemic hit.

When it comes to describing COVID-19, the words "deadly," "global," and "uncertain" have been strewn across the headlines. Overnight, it seemed like all my planning and stress about the future since I graduated college was for absolutely nothing. And in a way, it was.

For years, I always assumed that if I played by the book at work, made wise financial choices, and constantly obsessed over what my future holds, there's no way I would fail. In a few years, I would steadily pay off the rest of my student loans and save enough money for a moderately priced dream house down the Jersey shore. I quickly realised, however, that there are simply some things you can't foresee or control — this pandemic being one of them.

While social distancing at home, I noticed in a fit of panic that sometimes life doesn't exactly adhere to your, well, life plan. There's truly no amount of meticulous planning I could've done to prevent the fallout of COVID-19. And while I desperately still want all of the same things for myself, if it doesn't happen on my original timeline, that's OK.

I've learned my biggest character flaw is being impatient.

This realisation made me think back to my early 20s. I was fresh out of college and working an intro-level (read: low-paying) job as a sports reporter. During that time, I obsessed over moving to the next level in my career and getting to a point where I could reasonably save at least a few hundred dollars each month.

Although I don't regret having that sense of determination, in hindsight, I realised I was so worried about what the future held and how to get ahead that I didn't fully enjoy that time in my life. I was terrible at living in the moment and rarely took the time to appreciate everything I already had. Was my first apartment swanky? Absolutely not. But it was still mine. And while I may not have had a lot of money, I sure did have a lot of fun. I met some of my most cherished friends at my first job, including my now-husband. I spent nights drinking wine on the roof of my friends' apartment buildings. I learned so much at work.

Now as I reflect on the current pandemic at age 27, I've learned my biggest character flaw is being impatient. Although I'm extremely privileged to still have my job, my apartment, and a healthy family, sometimes it takes a shock to show you what's actually important in life. For the most part, exact timing doesn't qualify.

Of course, we all want to grow. But sometimes we just need to trust that things will happen in their own time. It might not be when we initially planned, but we'll all get to where we need to be. For now, I'm reminding myself to literally stop and smell the roses on my morning walks, laugh whenever I can, and for the love of all things holy, stop franticly looking at houses on Zillow.

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