written by
Sabrina Johnson

Forrest Gump was right; life is like a box of chocolates.

Narrative 4 min read , June 22, 2022

Forrest Gump was right; life is like a box of chocolates.

Have you ever just sat back and thought about the concept of how you have grown and changed throughout your life?

I am writing this from the balcony, enjoying the beautiful view and listening to the waves while on a family vacation, thinking about how today’s life is so far from my envisioned future.

The present time is nothing that I thought my life would be, yet I find myself the happiest and most content with where my life is currently.

“Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you will get.”

I often speak about my Type A personality.

Checklists. Highlighters. Bins for bins and everything in and with a place. Plans make me happy. Structure makes me happy.

I was the little girl who had my entire life mapped out. I was the girl with the plan.

But, the world sure likes to teach you lessons.

The moments I went “off-plan” have been the moments in life to bring pure joy and happiness.

Plan: Date someone for years before getting engaged and married.

Reality: Date less than a year and be married less than two years after meeting.

Plan: Wait two years to have children.

Reality: Pregnant 5 months later.

Plan: Children two years apart.

Reality: Children four years apart.

Plan: Teacher for life.

Reality: Teach until children, and then life will throw you a curve ball, and you will do things you never even imagined.

I often think that others would pick a better box of chocolate than I would pick for myself because I would overthink and analyze each piece and placement.

Even knowing that letting others help would result in great results, most likely better results in my happiness, I struggle, and I share that because I know I am not alone.

Never knowing what you will get has held me back, the fear of the unknown, the fear of “off-plan.”

I spent far too much time over-analyzing life like a box of chocolate, mainly because I sit here writing while hungry and because of the lightbulb moment. I have missed so much by telling myself I would only be happy if boxes were checked, a set of boxes I created only for myself.

So walk down the chocolate box with me:

When you receive a box of chocolate, you know there are always pieces in that box that you like and dislike, some you even despise.

Similarly to life, we know there will be good and bad days. We know there will be days we never want to end and that some days when our feet hit the floor, we know that nothing will go right until we are back in the bed for the night.

As you eat the chocolate in your box, it becomes a fun game to explore the pieces. When you find a piece you like, you can sit back and enjoy the candy, and finding one you do not want typically results in a humorous reaction resulting in significant memory.

We do not fear the entire box of chocolate; knowing that there will be some that we do not like, we embrace the fun challenge of finding the best ones.

Why is it not the same with life?

We fear the bad days so much that we do not enjoy the good days. A lifetime of beautiful memories can be swept from under us because of one bad day, one bad result, and one lousy phone call.

Can you imagine the box of chocolate I would have planned and the box I would have received?

If I was handed a box of chocolates, each piece of chocolate was labeled with only one word.

* SURGERY * ALS * MISCARRIAGE * CHILDREN *CANCER * MARRIAGE *FAMILY *ANXIETY

* LOVE *HAPPY *SELF-EMPLOYED *SAHM

* CAREGIVER *SUPPORT *TRIBE

I would have looked at that box and ran.

Sure, there are some beautiful pieces in that box but do you see how there are really scary parts of that box? NO WAY would I want that!

I would have never let myself enjoy the great moments I have had, the love, the laughs, and a fantastic life because of fear of bad days.

“Life is like a box of chocolate; you never know what you are going to get.”

A movie quote that has been said what, a million times? But if you really think about it- like really really think about life being like a box of chocolate, then you live a happier life.

In life, we never know what we will get, what each day will bring. We know there will be good days, and there will, unfortunately, be bad ones.

I want to start treating the bad days as the bad-tasting piece of chocolate. I want to make a silly face, spit it out, shake my head, and move on to the next.

The moments in my life that brought me joy have been “off-plan,” the moments that were meant to happen as planned in the fairytale created as a child.

The world will continue to surprise me. The box will always have pieces of chocolate filled with gooey yucky flavors. It is how I choose to handle those surprises that will matter.

Moments become memories.

Chocolate stains will last.

How do you want to remember them?

family caregivers sandwich caregiver