I’ve always been organized, and I’ve always liked knowing what my life would look like. As far back as I can remember, I always had attainable life goals. I wanted to graduate from high school. I wanted to graduate from college. I wanted to get married and have a career and have children someday. So far, I have graduated high school and I am about to graduate college and start graduate school in the fall, working towards a career as a clinical mental health counselor. I have a steady boyfriend and am excited about our future together. I have these goals for myself and I have worked hard to attain them and maintain them. I like knowing what my future holds and I like knowing what to expect. I started using a planner in high school for school assignments and my class schedule. As I got older, and my social, academic, and family calendar filled up (literally) I began to plan more events and write things down. As college came around, I became more interested in color coating my planner and highlighting assignments. I use the calendar on my phone as a backup and to be synced to my electronic devices, and I have every area of my life organized. No matter how much time I spend color-coating and organizing and planning my week, month, or year, nothing can prepare me for what life brings.
However, life happens. I could plan my entire life out, but I could never predict what storms would come my way. I could never have imagined my parent’s divorce or finding out that my dad was an alcoholic. I could never have planned for the repercussions that would affect my mental health for years to come. I could not have planned the therapy, my dad having a seizure, my mom getting re-married, new step-siblings, or the ups and downs of life. As unexpected as most of these were, they all taught me something. I learned to form them. I could never plan or expect for any of this to happen, but I am forever grateful for where they brought me and who I am on the other side. Through every storm, I have come out on the other side with so much knowledge of who I am, and what I have learned.
My expectations for life have changed and altered as I have learned to cope with and to deal with what life brings my way. I am forever grateful for the experiences, as challenging as they have been, and the people who have changed me. I have gladiators on my side. I have warriors on my side. People who have fought for me and will continue to do so.
As treacherous as life can be at times, I know I can take joy in the things that I am able to control (as little as they end up being). Planning is one of the things that brings me joy and helps relieve some anxiety. I like knowing what to expect, so seeing a visual layout of my week helps me know what is coming and helps me plan ahead. By knowing what to expect, my expectations are set, and I become less anxious, stressed, or worried. I can plan ahead for my self-care time, when to see friends, and when to do homework. My mental health is so important, so being able to schedule when I take time for myself. Life is scary and unpredictable, but I can predict my week pretty well, and that helps a lot with anxiety.
If you’re a Type A person like me, then I think owning a planner is a great way to relieve stress, plan time for yourself, and help manage the unexpected moments in life. You will be grateful that you wrote everything out and that you are able to feel stress-free about your long week!
Written By: Sara Corcoran
Undergraduate Intern, Olive Branch Counseling Associates