When Life Changes Your Plans

Mike Tyson has a famous quote that I’ll paraphrase, he said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. In life it is easy to make plans and assume that things will happen accordingly. It makes sense that if we follow the guidelines we are supposed to, or the plan we make, that the outcome should be somewhere in the vicinity we expect. However, often times life throws us challenges that can completely change our trajectory. Sometimes our trajectory is changed on a micro level and sometimes at the macro, but the challenge may be significant either way. The setbacks I have dealt with over the past month have illuminated my gratitude for my life and my ability to adapt.

In October of 2019 I decided I would go to Taiwan and explore the opportunities there. I love Taiwanese culture and people, and I am addicted to learning Mandarin. My initial plan was to be in Taiwan for a minimum of fix months and possibly up to one year. When I arrived things appeared to be going great. I was meeting new people, having engaging and interesting experiences, practicing my Mandarin Chinese, and having an overall great time. However, when news of the seriousness of the Coronavirus spread, I decided it would be best for me to return to the United States for a while. Therefore I only got to live in Taiwan for a month before my plan was derailed.

Since returning to the United States I decided to take advantage of my time and go to some kickboxing tournaments. I signed up for a tournament which would take place February fourteenth, two weeks after returning to the United States. After five days of training I severely rolled my ankle and thought I would not be able to attend the event. Right after rolling my ankle I was laying on the ground laughing. I was laughing at how my plans were turning out. It was too amusing, I had these grand plans that were seemingly being disassembled right in front of my eyes. First I have to cancel my year long exploration to Taiwan, now I might not be able to compete in kickboxing or Taekwon-do for months. The only thing I could do was laugh at how fragile our plans really are, and how expectations are meaningless when fate takes a swipe at them.

After coming to terms with my potential situation I hobbled back to my dwelling and decided to keep working on my Chinese. After about a week of being very cautious and careful my ankle seemed well enough to compete… as long as it was sufficiently wrapped in athletic tape. So I decided to sign up for the kickboxing tournament. A couple days later I started to feel a sore throat and mild fever. I could not believe it! After coming back from Taipei, injuring my ankle, I get sick four days before my tournament. I proceeded to rest and recovered very quickly. Luckily I should still be able to compete. However, this experience has made me think about overcoming challenges, especially when those challenges are out of your control, and appear disrupt your plans.

Since most of the things that have happened recently were out of my full control there was no reason to be upset. After all, who could I be productively angry at? Hopefully I am learning to better cope with the craziness and unpredictability of life, but only time will tell. For now I am doing my best to adapt and overcome each challenge that comes my way, and that is all we can do.

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