Anyone who knows me will tell you I like to plan ahead.
I like knowing what to expect. I like making reservations. I like clear outlines and detailed itineraries. I make daily to-do lists and keep a colour-coded calendar. But this year, I think life is going to throw me all kinds of things I can’t plan for.
In less than a week, I’ll step on a plane in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, and (eventually) step off a plan in Lilongwe, Malawi. Malawi’s a place I’ve heard a lot about from many different people, but I know I’ll still be surprised by what I encounter. Reading about a country online, or even talking to people who have travelled or grown up there, is no substitute for experiencing it yourself. I’ve done my homework. But as my mother said: my trip will give me some street cred to balance all my book learnin’. Doing your homework can only take you so far (as much as it pains me to admit it).
And after three months, I’ll hop on a plane again and come back to Canada. In some ways, I’ll be returning to a place I know. But in other ways, it’ll be another unfamiliar world. Where will I live? What will I do for work? What will it be like not to be a student? What graduate programs will I apply for? I can’t answer any of these questions definitively, which terrifies me and thrills me at the same time.
So 2014 will be The Year Sasha Rolled With It: the year I kept my eyes wide open, smiled in the face of uncertainty, and took in the lessons of the world instead of lessons in the classroom. Because even though I’m someone who loves to plan ahead, I’m also a creative person, and an open-minded person. I think I can find joy in the unknown and the adventure, and I have some pretty fabulous people in my life to encourage and inspire me to do that even when I’m scared. To me, the prospect of “rolling with it” does make me a little fearful; I’m a little nervous that I have no idea what the next twelve months will bring. But it’s the kind of fear that teaches you something—the kind of fear that’s quickly flipped into delight.
The best laid plans of mice and men, right? There are times in life when you need to manage the risks and know exactly what will happen, and times when you need to chuck the colour-coded calendar and roll with whatever comes your way. Bring it, 2014.