Am I supposed to have one? Do you have one?

I sort of had when when I graduated from college – get a job in PR, live in Chicago and be fabulous, work my way up, maybe get married when I’m 30.

Loyola Grads

That plan failed. Reality: Got a job in PR, lived in the suburbs, got married at 24, moved in with my parents, got a promotion at 30.

Not that I consider my life to be a failure, just that my original 10-year plan didn’t happen. But whose life plan at age 21 does happen?

Anyway, maybe this little exercise will help. (I saw this on Sara’s blog, and then this sat in my drafts …)

Picture yourself in 10 years. I’ll be 40. (Suddenly being 30 doesn’t feel so old, haha.) (Apologies to anyone 40 or older.)

What are you doing? Something useful. I don’t care what it is, as long as it is useful to the world in some way.

Who are you with? Hopefully my husband. Olive will be 16 … will she still be alive?? 😦  Anyway, maybe we’ll have kids, maybe we won’t.  But I hope we are near enough to our families and friends that we can see them regularly.

Where are you living? Preferably in or near Chicago.

What does a typical day look like? I don’t know. Will we have kids? Not sure. And if we do, will I stay home? Again, not sure. So my life could be more or less the same, or vastly different. And that’s what keeps life interesting …

How are you starting and finishing your day? Starting it with coffee. Finishing it with dessert. Or wine. Both, preferably.

What do you not want? To feel like I’m wasting my time.

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new? I ran a marathon – never thought I’d do that, or even want to do that. I’ve taken on a promotion at work. I’ve been forcing myself to get out there and meet new people, and get over my shyness.

What do you do with your free time? See any patterns? Run/work out, cook (haha), surf the ‘net, write blogs, read blogs, window shop online, force myself to accept social invitations because I don’t want to be a hermit. When I was wasteful with my money I would go shopping, and when my commute wasn’t ridiculous, I would volunteer more. Patterns – I enjoy running (obvi). I like being proud of what I do (hence the volunteering). I get frustrated with myself when I feel like I’m wasting my time. I like feeling like I’m using my time to do something, preferably something useful (to me or to others) or enjoyable.

So what can I take away from this? I don’t know. Who I work for is more important to me than what I do, but I can always make up for it through volunteering. But ideally I’d like to work for those volunteer-worthy organizations. That’s the dream. And time is a finite and valuable thing, I need to get better about not wasting it.

Also … given how well my last 10-year-plan worked out, I realize this is always a work in progress. And this is also intentionally vague. Who knows where life will take me, or what my priorities will be in 10 years. But I still keep coming back to this:

do what makes you awesome