I remember my A Level Results day like it was yesterday. I had absolutely no idea which way it was going to go, so the outcome could have been terrifically good or horrifically bad.
Rewind to 6 months earlier and I was sure my future was sorted. I’d fallen in love (or so I thought!) and was fairly sure that after Sixth Form, I was off on a big adventure overseas, working for a Christian organisation.
Wrong – I wasn’t in love and the international trip started to slowly unravel.
Problem was, being so sure of my future, I’d let my mock exams pass me by, while I stared dreamily into space and scribbled love hearts on my exercise books.
So, when my plans fell through and the Object Of My Affection turned out to be more of an affliction, the future was looking pretty bleak. I’d failed all my mock exams and had no idea what I was going to do next.
I figured doing a bit of final exam revision couldn’t hurt and so with 2 weeks to go, I armed myself with Pro Plus, and studied as though my life depended on it.
On the first Day of Doom, I remember wobbling bleary-eyed into the gym at college, hands trembling (combined effect of caffeine/nerves and sleep deprivation) and sat down to answer some questions, which could ultimately determine the whole direction of my life. I didn’t want to be there – I wanted to be having an amazing adventure – but that wasn’t on offer anymore.
Results Day was bright and sunny and when I stood in the college hallway, nervously scanning the wall for my name, I nearly keeled over to discover I’d passed, like, really, really well.
The problem was, with such stunning results, going to University now seemed a real possibility but I had no offers on the table. So I researched and found a course I wanted to do. And then, set about obsessively phone-stalking the leader of the course, until in the end, he agreed to give me a place through the Clearing system.
In the years since,I wonder how differently my life would have been if Object of Affliction and the overseas trip had worked out.
At the time, I figured I was on a certain path and then something came and knocked me dramatically off course.The thing is, being knocked off course, gave me opporutnities I would not have had otherwise.
‘Plan B’ allowed me to work for an aid agency and travel with film crews to some incredibly remote parts of the world, share a plane with a Prime Minister, record an album, ghost-write a book, travel to over 30 countries…and more importantly, to dance in rivers, slide down mountains in tropical rain and meet incredible people who would change my life forever….and to end up here, right now, where I am today. Which ain’t so bad.
Three cheers for being knocked off course and for the fact that no matter what life throws our way, God often has a much better, ‘Plan B’.