The life Planned vs. The Life Waiting

The following Joseph Campbell quote has a great deal of meaning. In my memoir, Shadow Summit, there are several instances when I,

 “let go of the life planned so as to have the life waiting.” — Joseph Campbell

The Life Planned

In my twenties and early thirties, I thought the key to creating the life of my dreams was to set a goal, create a plan, and do the things to make it happen. It worked for a number of years, even after the diagnosis. I reached great heights professionally and physically and found my soul mate, but my body gave out under the stress of trying to keep the promises and stay on plan.

Change Needed

Repeated failures lead me to question the plan. At the time,

Jon Chandonnnet

Planned v. Waiting

diverging from the plan was a major violation of a key belief that had guided my success to date. But I was in trouble and knew the answer was not just doubling down on my efforts and willing my way to what I wanted. The old way had run its course. I had to find a new vision. The changes weren’t minor adjustments. They were changes to core beliefs that contributed to my sense of self and they were desperately needed.

I radically shifted my diet in an attempt to lift the burden of disease; I left the career I had built my life around to create greater life balance, and we sold our home to downsize and lighten the financial load. These represented three of the most fundamental aspects of my self concept; the food I ate, the work I did, and the house I lived in. Each decision, on its own, was a significant departure from the life I had planned. Taken together, these three changes represented a seismic shift in how I perceived the world. These were challenging decisions to reach.

I spent many sleepless nights, and countless hours agonizing over whether or not to follow through with each. As troubling as they were at the time, I have come to realize each of these decisions were critical to creating the healthy, happy, hopeful, and harmonious environment I now find myself immersed within.


I might have ended up in this same place if I hadn’t made the decisions. Who knows, I may have ended up in a better place, or I may have ended up in a worse place. It’s not important whether I’m in a better or worse place. What’s important is that I made the decisions and am satisfied with the way things have turned out.


Are you holding onto the life planned at the expense of living the life you want–the life waiting to  be lived?