I’m one of those people who have always had a plan B. It might be for something as simple as what to make for breakfast, but it’s always there. Some/most people would say it’s a good thing—but it’s not. Not really. See, the thing is, I don’t have it so I can be prepared–no it’s there because I always expect Plan A to fail. Plan A might be the most wonderful, thought-out thing ever, but I still think it’s going to fail. It’s like I’m setting myself up for a life of settling so I don’t crumble under the sheer disappointment of not realising my dreams.
Things might be going great, but that always just seems to put me on guard—I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop; for something to go wrong so my life makes sense. For a while lately, things have been wonderful—and all I can do is sit and plan out what I’m going to do when it ends.
I rationalize this pessimism by saying that I’m just being realistic—that life is hard, and puppies get run over and the world is a horrible, terrible place with no space for optimistic fools. But it’s just pathetic because even I don’t believe that. Yes, the world isn’t the most ideal of places right now—and not everyone ends up where they wanted to—but that doesn’t mean you just drop out of the race and sit at home eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (actually, that sounds like a pretty great way to spend a Sunday evening…)
I always wake up happy. Even if my head and neck hurt due to the unfortunate placement of the pillow and even if my legs are numb from the cold because my sister hogged the covers last night. It’s not a conscious thing I do—I’ve always woken up like that. When I was a kid that was because waking up meant that I could continue reading whatever I had been last night before my mum cut that short by turning off the lights, or so that I could rush out to the balcony and just take it all in or so I could get an early start on a day spent building Lego towers and playing doctor on my Barbie. Now I wake up happy because that’s what my brain has been wired to do. Even if I’m still groggy from sleep, those few minutes before I gain full consciousness are glorious. My brain is not busy calculating all the different outcomes and impacts of the events of the day and deciding on the hypothetical course of action. The most taxing thing it is doing is wondering which way to stretch so the crick in my back is straightened out.
Expecting the worst—it’s not called being prepared, it’s just me not believing in myself or what I’m capable of. I wasn’t always like this. I was one of those annoyingly optimistic brats who laughed out in delight when it started raining even if it meant the long awaited basketball match had to be postponed. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but somewhere along the line I just changed. I had my whole life planned out—with no space for any mistakes—but now I have a Plan B to my plan B, at least, career-wise. I’ve never really been one of those self-assured, confident people but doubting myself I never did. Now, I seem to be second-guessing myself about the most basic of decisions and had decided cynical was the way to be. Because when you expect the worst, disappointment is hard to come by.
It’s hard to hold onto that confidence when everyone around you seems dissatisfied with their place in life. But I’m not them—you are not them, and it doesn’t matter if things didn’t work out for them. Because they will for you. And they will for me
And if not, I could always teach Literature to high school kids—seems like a fun thing to do, no?
Don’t stop believing (hold on to the feelin’)
P.S The title is not an original, it is a quote by George Carlin.