- Nur from ELEVEN
More Than Plan A
Plan A - the first, the dream, the default plan. Because who really fantasizes over Plan B?
Well , in reality, Plan A doesn’t always work out.
Sometimes, you just feel stuck. In a rut. Lost. Not knowing where to go and what’s to come. Agonising over what-ifs. Torn over what to do next.
That was me when my Plan A failed. Like some of you, my Plan A was to go to a specific university. Long story short, Plan A didn’t work out. So Plan B it was. Enter a different university and chase down a degree. But even then, everything felt wrong. So I put in place Plan C — retake A Levels and take another shot at Plan A.
And all throughout that process, I felt so many emotions. I felt lonely when I saw my friends entering university without me and chasing their dreams. I felt ashamed when I saw my parents’ faces fall to disappointment as I told them I had gotten rejected. I felt stressed beyond belief that my Plan A was falling apart and I felt like I was powerless to do anything about it.
That being said, everyone’s Plan A will look a little different from each other. And that’s okay. The point isn’t to compare your Plan A with someone else’s. It’s to focus on your own Plan A. Whether it's the Plan A that you want or what other people expect of you. What matters is that you ask yourself if Plan A is feasible. And if it’s not, see if there was another way to achieve the end goal of Plan A in a different way. Plan B or C may be different from Plan A but it doesn’t have to be different in its entirety. At least those were some thoughts in my head.
So what does Plan A mean to you?
One of my favorite films to watch is Flipped (2010). In the movie, there’s this analogy that a father shares with his daughter about how the whole is more than the sum of its parts, in the context of a painting:
“A cow by itself is just a cow. A meadow by itself is just grass, flowers. And the sun peaking through the trees is just a beam of light, but you put them all together and it can be magic.”
The daughter, one of the two main characters in the movie, later realizes that it’s the same with people. And that “sometimes with people the whole could be less”.
This analogy really stuck with me. It made me question. I guess it kind of sparked a whole period in my life that may be labelled as “soul-searching”. That time in my life was painful, lonely, and exhausting.
But also necessary.
Because at one point, I’m pretty sure I lost myself for a little bit, and that it took a while to find me again. It served as a reminder to keep the answer to the question “Why?” (why we do what we do, the reason we wake up and move forward with our day) and hold it close to my heart so that I may never lose that piece of me again. Well, at least not to the point where I never find it again. It’s for me to remember that even as I chase my Plan A or some permutation of it, I have to keep my intentions pure and clear. So if I look in the mirror, I wouldn’t have to lie to myself and say that the whole is not less.
Sometimes, I feel that what we think we want to hear is something we have probably already heard before. Maybe what we're looking for is just perspective. Maybe if we hear it (this thing that we’ve probably already heard), at the right time or at the right place or in the right mood, maybe even from the right place… when that’s all checked out, hopefully, maybe, something will click for all of it to finally make sense.
For those of you who are curious to know if my Plan C worked out, it did. Alhamdulillah. I hope that gives you a tiny bit of faith. Hope was something I knew I needed when I was going through difficult times.
What we, you, and I went through wasn't easy. It still isn't. But right now, even as I go through life's ups and downs, I feel like where I am now is exactly where I need to be and what I went through was what I had to.
I definitely think I'm only thinking this way because I've walked past a certain door —-looking back, the view's different and I probably won't be able to say the same things if I was still on the other side of that door.
And who knows? I might just be walking through another door like this and repeating this entire process again.
What I do know is that I'll be reminding myself that He is the best of planners and to trust in His plans because I never realised how true and real those words meant till recently.
That way, comparing the "downs" that I face throughout one of the most difficult years of my life next to the "ups", they don't feel so big anymore. Here's to counting our blessings, always.
God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear... (Al-Qur’an, 2:286)
So to the beautiful soul reading this, I hope you're hanging in there. If life isn’t how you picture it, I hope you know that you are so much more than your Plan A.