Lulu Chen on What to Do When Life Does Not Work Out as Planned

In Chapter 16 of 16 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, art director Lulu Chen answers "How Have You Learned to Adapt When Things Have Not Worked Out as Planned?"  Chen notes why expectations are important, specifically how you set and re-set expectations as you live your life.  While planning is important, she notes it is not about keeping pace with family and friends' milestones and achievements.  Rather, it is about adapting to how your life goes. 

Lulu Chen is a photo art director working in retail e-commerce in New York City.  Previously, Chen worked as a freelance stylist for leading fashion catalogs and magazines.  She earned a BFA in design and art history from the University of Michigan.


Erik Michielsen: How have you learned to adapt when things haven’t worked out as planned?

Lulu Chen: Well, I think a lot of it has to do with expectations, you know, you adapt to maybe giving yourself a little bit more time, you know. Or a little more lead way with certain things. I wasn’t necessarily a planner but, you know, at some point, there are certain checkpoints in your life, certain big birthdays, you know, or watching your friends or your peers achieve certain things, or—you know, or have—start families or things, that you start to think about, you know, “Oh, oh, was I supposed to be there at a certain time, or was I supposed to earn this much at a certain point, or,” you know, just like all of these expectations, and you might disappoint—you might be disappointed but then you make new goals, and you make new expectations, and you adapt, you know?

You adapt to how your life goes, not how your life should’ve been, or what you think it should’ve been. So you roll with it. No, seriously, you roll with it. I mean, like, you know, what are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? If like, shit hits the fan, you gotta just—you know, you just brush yourself off and you pick up and you keep going.