…While you’re busy making other plans.”–John Lennon

It’s the second week of school and we’re starting to feel like we’ve figured it out. We’ve settled into a fixed and accepted routine. Additionally or alternatively, we’ve decided what our year, or at least our semester, will look like and we have goals and expectations to see our plans come to fruition.

First years, many of you are now settling into your ideas about the people you’ll be by the time you finish Trinity. You decided ahead of time that you’d be a doctor or an engineer, you’d be involved with theater or you’d write for this paper.

These plans are not essentially negative.

But oftentimes, no matter what opportunities arise, we can’t see them because of the plans we made for ourselves. Our expectations blind us to the vast potential our present holds. They cease to guide us and come to restrain us, ultimately limiting the people we can become, dwelling within a limited spectrum for personal fulfillment and happiness.

Seniors, four years ago you made the same kind of plans as our current first years and, through the span of four years, realized how few of those plans stay consistent. And yet many of you, as you face your future prospects, are already making up your minds about the rest of your lives. You’ve decided exactly the kind of person you’re going to be, you know exactly where you want to live, the kind of work you’re going to do and the step-by-step process by which your life will unfold.

But how many of us, first years, seniors or in between, can honestly say we possess the imagination, the foreknowledge, the depth of understanding and the insight to say that the visions we have for our futures are those that will carry us to wholeness, happiness and fulfillment?

On a scale of one to omniscience, I’m going to vote none.

So what then am I prescribing?

I’m not saying recklessly abandon your passions or pursuits. You don’t have to fly by the seat of your pants, burn your schedules or forget about the things you think define you.

But don’t let your preconceived notions of the future, yourself or your environment cause you to miss out on your present. It’s by responding to and engaging with what’s in front of us, remaining aware and questioning, that we grow and develop, becoming mature and complete. Allow yourself to be malleable — allow new experiences and new people to change the person you are right now and the person you’re going to be. Allow for disruption. Allow the steps you take now to dictate the person you become later instead of worrying that you may end up in a place that looks different from what you currently expect.

Gift yourself with the liberty to live any kind of life and be any kind of person. And commit to a level of openness and spontaneity in your day-to- day life. Step out of your plans and into your present, and it’ll be better than what you’re imagining.

Because, O Trinity, it’s happening right now. It’s real.

Margaret Browne is a senior majoring in English.