February 17, 2005

Where will you be?

I turned 39 last Saturday. My good friend and ‘spiritual advisor’ turns 40 tomorrow. I asked him today, “Is this where you’d thought you’d be when you turned 40?” His response, “I had no idea where I’d be when I turned 40.”

It got me to thinking, which is usually a bad thing. I started to wonder if I should have made plans and laid out my life like so many others do. I’ve always coasted through life, trying to avoid stress or unpleasantness and have succeeded for the most part, but at what costs? If I took more risks, would I be more successful now, more financially secure? Still married, but to someone else? Would I have had kids? It’s a lot to think about.

I was never a planner. In high school, the plan was to get out and move away. Got that one right. In college, the plan was to be a doctor, but then realized you don’t just be a doctor. All the bullshit you had to go through just didn’t seem worth it. Plus, I absolutely sucked at math (Ari?) and you can’t be a doctor without it. So, I got a psych degree instead, which has never been taken out of its box. Well, not officially, that is, since my professors made me sign a Will not practice psychology ever. agreement before they’d allow me to graduate. I’ve kept my word and never practiced. Thankfully, I was smart enough to get a business minor, which paid the bills.

Now that I’m 39, I start to wonder where I’ll be in the next 10 years. The next 20 years. Am I saving enough to retire on comfortably? (Uh, no.) Will I be remarried? Have kids, or step-kids, or grandkids, or step-grandkids? Will I still be fat? Will I make it 20 years? 30 years? 40 years?!?

What about you, Dear Reader? Do you have a plan? Is your life mapped out for the next howevermany years or are you flying by the seat of your pants? As for me, I think I’ll continue to fly. Hell, I was never very good at following maps, anyway. This plane’s a two-seater if anyone wants to ride shotgun. I must warn you, though, once we start this journey, I’m not stoppin’ every hour to pee. You’ll just have to hold it.


Now, I do have a plan-I plan on doing what I am doing in the non-profit world. Maybe backing off in a couple of years some of my volunteer work. This Fall during football season I will be taking offical vacation days for the first time in several years. Prior to '94 I didn't have a plan. Just learned, read, volunteered, did small consulting jobs. Kept wondering what I was going to be when I grew up. Had no idea I would be doing what I am currently. Finally, my education, skills and capabilities came together. Yea!! In the interim years I had to trust that I would wind up in the right place for me. That happened and it will happen for you.
If the car is a 2 seater where will the dogs sit?

Posted at February 17, 2005 02:39 PM

I call dibs on riding shotgun!

And yes...I can hold it...

Posted at February 17, 2005 04:36 PM

Holding it is not a problem.

Posted at February 17, 2005 09:45 PM

I was a fly by the seat of my pants gal . . . until I became a mom. now, I'm a reluctant planner.

Posted at February 18, 2005 05:49 AM

I had often lamented that I didn't have a *life plan* until I realized that many of the people who have these scare the crap out of me. You can't schedule your life, and those who try are often constantly at odds with where they are "supposed to be" versus where they are and are unneccessarily discontent. Better to just make changes when your current paradigm no longer suits you.

Can we pull over? I have to pee.

Posted at February 18, 2005 08:39 AM

I don't have a plan. And I'm totally OK with that. Expectations usually lead to disappointment.

I have short-term goals (pay off my debt, for example) but no long-term goals. Except to be as happy as I possibly can and to love my friends and family as much as I can.

This is a useless comment I've left.

Posted at February 18, 2005 12:48 PM

I've never had a long-term plan, either, and for the most part it hasn't bothered me. As deb said, people who knew before they even left high school exactly what they were going to do with their lives scared me a bit. I'd seen too many unexpected things happen in life by that point to believe that you could map things out that way.

There are days when, at 37, I have the exact same kind of doubts you're expressing here about being aimless in terms of Life Plan. But I also know that I've lived my life to this point the way I needed to live it, and I have to believe in myself enough to accept it was the right direction.

Even if the other seat in my plane is also empty.

Posted at February 18, 2005 01:28 PM

I hope you had a good B'day! Did I miss it in your blog? It appears that you didn't mention it.

Posted at February 21, 2005 11:21 AM

It's been my experience that you can plan all you want, but life will probably take you somewhere else. Not that that's a bad thing.

Posted at February 22, 2005 12:56 PM

Well I have had a plan since I was about 17. I am 22 almost 23 now and I'm actually ahead of schedule. Next month I start job in the 6 figure range which was one of my goals by the time I was 25. I don't really have a plan for marriage or kids becuase I beleive these things happen by chance anyways. No since in planning on being married by 25. If you don't meet the right person by then then you don't get married. My current goal now is to finish up my college degree...yes I know alrady have the 6 figures but now money doens't seem as important. I want to work for the FBI or the CIA and both jobs require a bachelors degree unfortunately....We'll see how well I keep to my plans

Posted at February 23, 2005 05:58 PM