Advice

How to: Go with the flow

I’ve always been a planner. I like knowing when to expect things, and I hate not having a set schedule. I thrive when I can see a set plan ahead and can strive to meet every goal and deadline along the way (Yes, I know I’m no fun). In fact, I enjoyed it so much that the very thought of not doing so resulted in actual tears.

Yup, I cried at the thought of not having a set plan. And it happened at work, in front of my co-workers.

Oh my god, I’m graduating

Many of you may know that I graduated from college back in December, but what you don’t know is about a week before commencement, I had a slight emotional breakdown at work just thinking about graduating.

This came as a huge shock (Especially to the two co-workers that I cried in front of) because before that moment, the only thing I could talk about was how excited I was to graduate. “This is a common thing,” they said to me. “Everyone gets upset right before graduating.”

Sure, but they are probably upset for different reasons (like missing their friends or their school). I was crying because I didn’t know what I would be doing a month from now. My incessant desire to plan became my downfall.

I was so used to planning the next semester (or next 2 semesters) that I literally did not know how to function, so I broke.

After calming me down (and after I apologized about 100 times for being so emotional) I turned to my coworkers and uttered a sentence that I never imagined I would ever say: “I guess I’ll just go with the flow.”

Go with the flow…

The idea of just going with whatever life threw at me absolutely terrified me, but I really had no other choice at that point. I didn’t have a full-time job lined up and I sure as hell was not going to jump back into school for my Masters (I like school, but come on).

At that moment, I still had an internship. No full-time job, but working 40 hours per week with good pay at a company that I really liked, so why would I leave? But at the same time, every part of my soul was screaming at me to apply anywhere and everywhere I could, but I didn’t have the desire to leave. So, I stayed, and I went with the flow.

SPOILER ALERT: It all worked out. Well, for now. I’m still sort of going with the flow.

It worked out because I took every opportunity that came my way. I helped multiple people with multiple things, simply because they asked. I was following the wave of life, and it led me to where I am today (Thank god).

Sometimes going with the flow works out, but in doing so, there is one extremely important thing you have to remember: don’t float with the flow.

…But don’t float with the flow

You should go with the flow, because sometimes you are in a limbo-stage of life, so you have no other choice. HOWEVER, you shouldn’t just sit there aimlessly and expect things to land in your lap (and stay there).

This is where going with the flow differs from floating with the flow. When you go with the flow, you still continue to work hard. You put in 100% effort day in and day out. You’re letting the water take you where it wants to go, but you are also putting in the effort to grab onto any tree, rock and rope you see along the way, and if you see a way out of the rushing water and into something better, you’re taking it.

When you float with the flow, on the other hand, you are putting in minimal effort. The water is rushing you along, but instead of strapping on a life jacket, swimming along with it and looking for any object possible to hold on to, you’re doing the opposite.

You’re lying on a floaty, sunglasses on and drink in your hand, letting the water take you wherever it wants to go. You’re missing the opportunities that surround you, and you’re destined to float forever, because you’re simply not trying.

The trick to it all

If you’re an organized mess (Yes, that does make sense) like me, then going with the flow sounds terrifying. Just know that sometimes it’s necessary. It’s okay if you don’t have absolutely every aspect of your life figured out, and it’s okay to have periods of time when you’re simply letting life take you by the hand (or the arm or the leg or the hair. Life can be brutal sometimes, you know?).

Just be sure to look around as you’re letting the water guide you along, because if you don’t, then you might miss out on what you’re meant to do. Plus, if you let the flow take you wherever it wants to go, it just might lead you tumbling down a waterfall, and we don’t want that.

Go with the flow, but just don’t get too comfortable. After all, life is pretty unpredictable.

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