By Lauren Hanington
As children, most of us enjoyed a happy, carefree existence. Why not? We didn’t have to worry about doing laundry, running errands, or paying rent. We lived in the here and now. As for the future… we had our whole lives ahead of us. Sure, we might have occasionally thought about adulthood as we ran around the playground or had sleepovers with our friends, but it was usually with excitement and bright-eyed optimism. Being an adult was going to be absolutely wonderful.
Although I was not one to officially map out my life, I had a general idea of how it was going to play out. Suffice it to say, life did not go the way I thought it would—not even remotely. To this day, it still has not gone how I imagined it would as a child. At least now I finally have a bit more wisdom and understanding, if not patience and clarity.
Shortly before and for awhile after college, when I found myself in a city or job I did not like, I would ask myself “why?” “Why am I here in this city? Why am I working at this job I dislike so much?” “How will this help me get to where I want to be in life?” My restlessness and unhappiness made me question the path my life had taken. It was not a bad path by any means, but it was definitely a detour from what I imagined as a kid.
Despite the fact that life has not gone how I planned, I have been able to grow from every experience, set back, and hurdle. I have been able to look back at every detour and meandering path my life has taken and find something good in it—or, at the very least, glean a life lesson from it. Whether it was earning college credit while still in high school, moving to a new city where I did not know anybody, or working at a stressful job for a difficult boss, life has provided me numerous learning experiences and growth opportunities with each “trial” that has been thrown in my path.
In the moment, we may not always be aware of how an experience is shaping us or providing us with valuable life lessons. These gems are sometimes not clear until we have moved on to the next phase of our life. Only then do we realize that the job, city, or experience we bemoaned was a blessing in disguise.
So, the next time you find yourself in a job you cannot wait to leave or dealing with people that make you want to tear your hair out in frustration, take a deep breath, step back and look for the positive domino effect that will result from the current negative. Then, while you are implementing your move to bigger and better things, you will find comfort in knowing that no situation or experience is ever wasted.
About the Blog
Here I write about the evolution of this project, the act of preserving life stories and personal development. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.