Your life in 7 years.
Most of my life I’ve had a plan. Regardless if the goals were adolescent fantasy, completely unrealistic, or simply a bad idea, I’ve been forward facing. Even when I’ve appeared to be hopelessly adrift, I could always define – this is what I want.
Plan: Glorious career. I was going to be a highly acclaimed marine biologist. Aside from my close-encounter-of-the-dolphin-kind, that didn’t happen. (While I do currently work in a maritime industry, my job function is management and HR, not science.)
Plan: Perfect relationship. I met a feller, got married, professed ’til death do us part. We all know how that worked out – still breathing (bonus!), relationship successfully severed and no real prospects for romance on the horizon.
Plan: Spectacular career redoux. I started a farm, put my nose to the grindstone to learn an enormous amount about something that was well outside my worldview and dedicated myself to the painfully slow process of building a loyal clientele and respected reputation. After countless sacrifices and a ludicrous amount of work, I was well on the way to running a flourishing small business. Post-divorce, I walked away from it all and moved to a small city to become the business manager for a really exciting, high tech engineering firm. It’s a complete about-face in lifestyle. I currently don’t even have a houseplant. (When I say, small city that’s population 42k. My NYC friends call that a “lively town” but compared to the last 15 years, this seems like a megalopolis.)
It seems like no matter what I do, life never shakes out the way I envision it. Clearly my stratagem is faulty. Five, ten, fifteen years ago I would have never suspected that this was the labyrinthine road I was going to travel. However, deviation from The Plan hasn’t always been a disappointment and oft times was decidedly a boon. It’s just a testament to the fact that change is the only constant and no matter how detailed your blueprint, no one can foresee the future.
I was out with a friend recently and in the course of conversation I made a comment about things that used to be a significant part of my life: but that’s not what I want anymore. Inevitably that led to her inquiry, well what is it that you do want? Oh my. For the first time in my life I don’t really know. I don’t have a plan.
<excuse me while I panic here for a moment>
I don’t have a road map that details where to go from here (*gulp*), so I cannot possibly surmise what the next seven years may bring. What I do know is that these days the things I crave are intangible – happiness, friendship, love, health, purpose, experiences. I’m beginning to realize there are endless ways to achieve these things. I don’t have to subscribe to the societal agenda; I can figure it out for myself. I expect I’ll be puzzling it out for the rest of my life, for the most compelling lesson I’ve learned over the last five years or so is that what’s right for me today, may not be what I need tomorrow.