10-Year Plan

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
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16 Comments on “10-Year Plan”

  1. I went through a similar 10 year vision process at a goal setting event I went to about a month ago, and I thought it was really helpful, especially the parts where I didn’t know where I wanted to be in 10 years. Just thinking about where you want to be in 10 years makes you really think about your priorities and allows you to cut the crap out of your life, which is really helpful. I hope you enjoyed your 10 year plan experience. 🙂

    1. Haha, yes! Falling in love totally changed my plan for my 20s! Oh well. I just want to adopt some self-sufficient 5-year-olds … I’m not really sold on the whole changing-diapers-every-2-hours and not-sleeping-through-the-night thing …

  2. Being 10 years out of college, I can say that I definitely didn’t follow my 10 year plan! I’m a little amused that you were planning to be single through your 20’s and ended up getting married so young! I thought that I just HAD to get married and maybe even start having kids by the time I was 25, but didn’t even meet my husband until I was 26, much less get married until I was 31! So I did the single, big city career girl thing by default. I’m in a much better place now than I was 10 years ago, so I hope things just keep on getting better.

    1. I know, whenever I think about getting married at 24, I feel like that was soooo young. We’re coming up on our 6th anniversary and I feel like that makes me sound so old.

  3. I used to have a 10-year plan. After college, it consisted of teaching, getting married, having kids right away and living in the burbs with said family.

    Now I am 32, teaching, married, and living right smack in the middle of downtown with my husband, with no kids. And yet, I love it.

    Things definitely don’t always turn out as planned, and I think you’re spot on with the takeaway from all of this – just keep being awesome:) I love the mantra: Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Or something like that.

    1. Yes – appreciate what you have now, and do the most with it, rather than getting fixated by what you don’t have and think you need. Not having our own house/apartment, this has been my point of view for a few years now.

  4. I can’t imagine anyone’s 10 year plan at age 21 goes according to the plan. Living with a purpose and goals continue to be something I’ve been thinking about a lot. The last 10 years flew by and I’m sure the next 10 will as well. Much like you, I hope it just doesn’t fly by with being on a hamster wheel but have some sort of purpose.

    1. I think if my 10-year plan had worked out, I might have missed out on a lot. But I’m sure I would have had other great experiences. I think that gets to the point that no matter where life takes you, appreciate it and do the most with it, and you can’t go wrong.

    1. Yes! I dread the thought of being 35, 40, 50 … 80 … and looking back on my life and not being proud of it. Even if my life doesn’t go the way I thought it would, is it at least going in a good direction?

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