Do you remember when you were in school and a teacher would ask you where you saw yourself in five/ten years? Or perhaps that was an interview question for some of you. I’m guessing that the question asker wanted to see what kind of goals you set for yourself or what expectations you had for your life. Perhaps they just wanted to know what your priorities were or what mattered to you the most. If you’re anything like me, your answers probably reflected life’s generic milestones. Be married, have kids, have a job/career that you loved, visit certain places, buy a house, etc. Perhaps it was a combination of some of those.
In hindsight though, I think that question is kinda crappy and serves no major purpose. Doesn’t it just set us up for disappointment? Now, this question is not to be confused with its cousin,”What goals do you have for yourself/your life?” or some other variation. No, I’m referring to the question with the specific time frame. What happens if we haven’t accomplished x,y, and z in that specific amount of time? Are we failures? Did we go wrong somewhere? Should we have set lower goals/standards for ourselves? Should we not have dreamed so much?
I wish I would have had the foresight to answer that specific question differently back then because most of the aforementioned items are simply beyond our control. We can’t possibly know the age we’re going to be when our soulmate is destined to cross our path. Or what happens if our ‘soulmate’ ends up being a completely different person than we thought they were? What happens if you can’t have kids or on the flip side, get pregnant when you weren’t wanting to? What happens when the career you chose & studied for & maybe even accrued student loans for isn’t where your passion ends up being? What happens if a major catastrophic event or a tragedy of some sorts completely knocks your life off the trajectory you expected it to take? All of those scenarios have too many variables that are simply out of our hands. If we try to measure the success of our life based off what we’ve “accomplished” in a set amount of time, we’re probably not focusing on the richness and fullness of how amazing life can be. By thinking we’re supposed to have certain items crossed off in a certain time frame, we’re setting our life up for less than…and we’ll probably end of focusing on all we didn’t do instead of focusing on what we did.
So here I sit, living a life that looks drastically different than the one I envisioned when I used to have to answer that question. My old self always had one specific time frame goal in mind. Be finished with having kids by my 30th birthday. I’d be remiss not to mention that today is my 32rd birthday, so you can clearly see how well that goal worked out. I suppose this post circles back around to the Does your life have purpose? post Brittany wrote last week. I’m convinced that the number one way to make your life feel like it doesn’t have purpose is to put a time stamp on it.
Nope, I’d go back and answer that question this way. I’d say I want to be a kinder, more compassionate person. A person who picks up her phone a little less and engages in life a little more. I’d say I want to be a person who knows peace and contentment. Someone who appreciates the simple things and knows how to count her blessings. Someone who is able to find joy in the really hard stuff, because life is mostly really hard. Because those are aspects of my life that are within my control and those areas shouldn’t have a time stamp on them.
So, here’s to looking at the bright side of life and still being able to say I’m in my early 30’s!