This morning was a beautiful morning with light fluffy snowflakes pirouetting around and warm enough air to convince me to linger for a few minutes, contemplating today’s topic: “where will your life be in seven years?”
My answer: I have no idea. Do you?
Look at it this way: where were you seven years ago?
I was teaching English in a private school in Georgia, still married, and spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how not to live in Georgia or be married. If you had asked me then if I would have the wherewithal to divorce and move across country in the next seven years, I would not have said yes. I barely knew how I was going to get through the week I was in – much less plan seven years out.
I mean, seven years ago my youngest son was only seven. Wow. My eldest was 16, and middle son was 13. Seems like a different life time. Our cat had not yet been born seven years ago.
I know people who thought they knew what was going to happen, and then: life. Or death. Or marriage. Or cancer. Or opportunity. Or or or…
The cliche goes that God laughs when we make plans. Well, maybe. Being a lifelong teacher, I do enjoy a good plan, but flexibility goes a long way, too.
So, while I guess I did plan and execute a lot over the course of the past seven years – divorce, moving across town, sending one son to college, buying a house, a new job, selling a house, moving across country, sending a second son to college, renting a house, another new job, buying a condo – and those are just the biggies – I don’t think I could say that it was all planned seven years ago.
Sure, we make things happen. But, sometimes life just happens.
We live, work, love, drink, cry, laugh, and carry on.
I don’t want to try to control everything. I surely don’t want to see too far down the road.
In my fourth ever real job interview after graduating, I was asked by the superintendent of Community Unit School District 220 in Illinois, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Being young, being full of myself, being unprepared, in a split second and with no idea how to answer and with a straight face I said, “Sitting in your chair.”
I got the job.
Hubris. But I no longer want to be a superintendent – that was an idea from 21 years ago.
Making plans and seeing them through can be fulfilling. So can binge watching Netflix. So can eating chocolate. Our whole lives are made of mini-lifetimes; we divide them up by the places we lived, the jobs we had, or decades of age. No matter how you do it, it’s the time of year for reflection and reveling in those past calendar pages.
What will the next seven years bring? I don’t know. But, whatever is included, I hope that I can open my eyes to the new chances, opportunities, and people, as well as loving those that are part of my history. Indeed, every day is a new mini-lifetime.
“. . . I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. . . “