‘Where do you want to be next year? In five years? In 10?’
When I was younger I thought this question was completely practical to think about. I would think ‘Oh, well I will have graduated from college and I want to have a job at a prestigious company and then I would also like to be married…’ Then when I was in my early 20’s it would change to ‘I want to be promoted and get married and have kids and…’
And now when I ponder the question about the future I think, ‘FIVE YEARS?! How the heck will I know what I’ll be doing, where I’ll be, or who I’ll even be with in five years?! So much can change!’
For all I know, in five years I could be a mother to three kids. Or I may still just have one kid. I may be in Chicago or maybe something will have happened with Tim’s job and we’ll be living abroad. Perhaps I’ll have decided to go back to work in the same field I used to work in, or maybe I’ll still be at home, or maybe I’ll be back in school to learn a new trade. Basically, I have no idea where I even want to be in five years, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
If anything, the whole concept of a five year plan has put pressure on me that never needed to be there. You see, I used to think that I needed to live by my five year plan, and have an entire outline of my life planned out. For instance, when I was younger I decided (because I liked the number) that I would get married at 24, and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel the tiniest bit of anxiety as that age came and went, with me being no closer to marriage. Like, I had actually convinced myself that this had to happen in order for the rest of my plans to fall into place – talk about pressure!
I think five year plans can possibly help guide us in a direction we want to go. Like, if we know we want to get a college degree in five years, we should probably start applying to college now. Some things take a bit of foresight, I suppose.
But really, I prefer to think about life in terms of where I want to be right now and maybe even where I want to be within the next few months, and I wish I had always lived this way.
I wear this dress (similar) far too often, but it’s so comfortable that I just find myself continuing to throw it on day after day! I consider it my perfect ‘mom’ dress for the park.
One thing that not having future ‘plans’/expectations has given me is confidence in my present. When Tim starts talking about the stress of not necessarily knowing where he wants his career to go in 5-10 years, we find a great amount of comfort just thinking about how right now he is exactly where he wants to be, and I’m assuming God has big plans for him in the future that He’s just waiting to reveal.
Right now I want to stay home with Clara, so I am. I’m trying not to worry about what this means for my future job prospects, because I know this is best for us in this moment and I refuse to diminish my confidence by worrying about what may or may not happen in the future. Right now I want to be living in the city, so when people ask about whether we’ll move to the suburbs when Clara starts school (in 4-5 years) I honestly say I have no idea, but my current self does not want to be in the ‘burbs.
I try not to say I will ‘never’ do something, because I’m sure my future self will not even recognize certain aspects and opinions of my current self. My current self is making decisions based on our current income, family situation, and relationships, and these will certainly all shift over the next half decade – if not sooner.
This is what I do know about what I want my life to look like in 5 years:
— I want to be continuously improving as a wife and mother.
— I want to know God better than I do today and growing in my relationship with Him.
— I want to grow the relationships with those in my community.
— I want to read and take photos and find joy in everyday activities.
— I want to participate in my community in any way that I can and allow God’s love to shine through me.
I’m not in a rush to plan or think of anything else. Maybe it’s because I’m satisfied where I am so I don’t need to dream about the future. Maybe it’s because 5 years ago I hadn’t even met Tim, never could have dreamed how much I would love my daughter, and was traveling 100% in a job I didn’t love. My life was really, really different than it is now. So a lot can and will change and I love that. I embrace new things and challenges and changes. I thrive on it, really.
I have no idea what my next 5 years will be like, and I doubt any amount of planning will prepare me for what’s in store, but I’m already excited about it.