How many times have you heard someone utter the words, “I can’t wait until tomorrow,” “I can’t wait until Friday,” or “I hate Mondays?” I find myself saying this on days I feel sick, lonely, or even just bored.
Somehow the future is always more bright, beautiful, and easier than today. Nobody warned us that there would still be trials, loss, and unplanned twists and turns where you least expect them. That being said, why do we still always hope for tomorrow to come, even when we have so many blessings today? I think a big part of it has to do with boredom. It’s hard to sit still and have a mundane schedule and so much easier to “live for today” when today is exciting and great.
Getting sick with POTS really opened my eyes to the harder parts of life. One of the most difficult lessons I’ve learned is that the future isn’t promised, and some dreams may never come true. You know what else I learned from these lessons, though? That this is all okay! I learned that you have the opportunity to grow and learn from trials, and that you can always handle so much more than you realize. I learned that sometimes the hardest thing you have to go through can turn into the biggest blessing you’ve ever had, and that God’s plan for you is even better than what you have planned for yourself. Finally, I learned that sometimes all you can do is take life one day at a time, and focusing too much on the future can actually be harmful when you are dealing with a particularly difficult trial.
Instead, on the harder days I try my best to list my blessings. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve surely seen my “Five Blessings” posts. This was the most recent one:
Instead of having the mindset that life is going to be better tomorrow, count the blessings you have today. Don’t get me wrong; it can be really hard sometimes, but if you can find even just one thing to be grateful for, life quickly feels a little bit easier. Sometimes you need to just take baby steps, even if it’s just counting your blessings — one day at a time.
Update: Still trying to change my domain to KristaLauren.com, but it’s taking forever because I need technical help and it hasn’t been the biggest priority on my list. Keep in mind this site will be changing, though!
“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans.”
Whoo boy have I learned my lesson from planning out so many aspects of my own life. I can literally give you hundreds of examples where I’ve planned something out “perfectly” and my dreams get completely wrecked.
One of my favorite things to write about is dating — big surprise — so we’ll go with one of those first. As soon as my ex and I broke up I was excited at the realization that I would eventually find someone to date who wasn’t thousands of miles away… But only after I had been single for at least a year or two and had my fair share of dating around!
That’s when life decided to concoct a perfect plan to completely ruin my plan.
“Ha!! Joke’s on you, Krista; not only are you going to meet someone great far too soon, but he’s going to move away twice as far as your last boyfriend and we’ll spice things up and make the distance be in your way for 10 months — effectively lasting more than twice as long as you and your SO ever did before.”
Life, you are one cruel mofo and not nearly as funny as you think. I believe you’re the only one laughing at your terrible jokes.
Anyway, the great thing about life not going your way is that you often still have options. I had a choice to make: Either break things off with someone I felt was a great fit for me, keep dating around and see whether or not we’d pick back up again when he got back, or be in an exclusive long distance relationship again. I quickly realized I really wanted to see how things would work out with this gentleman, as I’ve never felt the way about anyone the way I did him. I still don’t know how our story is going to end — or whether or not it will — but this is a risk I completely want to take.
Possibly an even crazier example is getting sick with POTS. I would have never in a million years thought something like that would happen to me, but it did and I’ve been able to handle it and still find reasons to be joyful. Something I think about sometimes, too, is that if I had never gotten sick I don’t know if my ex and I would have ever broken up. That’s a terrifying thought, as we were not suited for one another and would have had a really tough future together. He and I had completely different priorities and life goals; dating someone who is more similar to you in this regard is so much easier. Feeling like I’m with someone who will absolutely drop anything to take care of me — both emotionally and physically with my illness — is absolutely priceless.
Today’s lesson: Life may not always go the way you hope it does. You may never get your dream job, meet the person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with when you want to, and the people you think are going to be in your future might not stick around. People are made to adapt, though, and through God all things are possible (Philippians 4:13). Hang in there and realize that although things might be down for you one day, a blessing is likely right around the corner.
The last three years of my life did not go the way I could have imagined in a million years. If you had told me when I was in undergrad that I would develop a debilitating chronic illness just weeks after graduating I would have gone into full-out panic mode. Despite typical teen struggles I had never really dealt with anything incredibly difficult in my life before.
My story certainly doesn’t mirror a typical twentysomething’s, but I have been able to learn firsthand how refreshing it is to focus on your own journey, rather than comparing yourself to others.
My Dreams were: to move to New York City, segue my editorial internship at Seventeen magazine into a job, pay off my own college debt, and enjoy a few more years in a teeny tiny apartment with a fun roommate while I was still young and unmarried. Towards the end of my time working in the city I felt like these dreams were so close I could almost taste them — after all, I was literally eating $2 New York pizza and garlic knots for dinner every other night, and I had become a pro in the city I loved so much.
My reality is: I live at home with my parents in the suburbs, I physically cannot work despite spending so much time in school preparing for the real world (Where the fun should really begin in my field!), and I spend the same amount of time at the doctors’ office as many of my peers spend working. All of this topped off with the handful of POTS symptoms that remain and my chronic widespread pain make a perfect recipe for frustration.
The funniest thing about everything, though, is I am the most content and secure I have ever been in my entire life. I see so many of my friends succeeding in their own lives and careers and I am genuinely so happy for each and every one of them. I actually really like social media because I feel like I get to celebrate small and large victories not only with my close friends, but also with people I haven’t seen in awhile.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes feel a little pang of jealousy that most of the people I spend time with have normally functioning bodies, but it’s never in a way that I would want to take anything away from anyone; I just want to have my own health back. All of my friends are able to go to concerts and on road trips without having a care in the world, whereas it takes a lot of planning for me to be even remotely spontaneous. So in this way, I do sometimes struggle with the things I have to miss because of my illness.
I still feel a little heartbroken when I think about New York and wish I could go out my front door and see the beautiful lights shimmering around me at night. I want to be able to live life again without paying attention to dozens of little details to ensure I don’t feel incredibly ill, but that isn’t my reality at the moment. Right now I do have to take lots of extra care of my body and I can’t do everything that my heart desires.
So, how do I feel so at peace with my life? How can I be so happy for others when I don’t necessarily have the same privilege of a normal, working body?
My answer is actually really simple. I focus on the things I do have, rather than those that I do not, and I realize that there is enough room for everyone to be successful in their own way.
Here is the long list of things I do have in my life:
Amazingly supportive friends and family who love me very much. This already makes me feel like one of the most blessed and lucky girls in the world when I take the time to sit down and really appreciate them.
The best best friends in the world — this includes my little puppy, Macy.
My body works enough now that I can have some fun adventures, as long as I take it easy a few days before and after a big event.
I think there’s a good chance I might have found the best guy in the entire world and he likes me too (And is totally fine with the excessive amount of rest I need to feel good).
My heart has been broken into a million pieces and I still know how to love fiercely.
Even though I can’t be writing articles for Seventeen at the moment, I can share my thoughts with lots of young girls on this blog. At the end of the day I am still following one of the paths I really wanted to be on.
I may not have a snazzy New York apartment, but I have a warm place to stay and absolutely love my family — I actually think I am lucky to have a few extra years living with them!
The Office is available on Netflix (And so is Pokémon: Indigo League… I mean, what?).
And lastly, I have chocolate. I may have developed several new food allergies in the past few years, but I love chocolate and it loves me, so I think I can deal with any of the dietary restrictions that come my way.
I really could go on and on about the things I am thankful for in my life. I’m not optimistic every day and I do struggle seeing the bright side of things sometimes, but my God is an awesome God and I know He is taking really good care of me. I have known from a young age that my purpose in life is to somehow help others, and the responses I have gotten from writing for this blog makes me feel like I am making an impact on people’s lives.
Thank you for reading what I write, and thank you for being so supportive of me. I love that so many of you have been comfortable enough to trust me with some of your struggles, and I feel blessed to walk alongside such wonderful people in their journeys through heartbreak or to find love. Each one of you has something absolutely amazing to offer the world. Just because your story might be vastly different, doesn’t mean that it is any less important or fulfilling.