Something that I have been asked over, and over, especially in schools, is where I see myself in five years, or ten years, or even thirty years. I understand that this exercise is often used to help young people plan for their future, and have goals and the like. But I always hated this question.
If you know me, you know I’m a super organized person and I need to plan ahead. So, you would assume that I would have a prepared answer for this question, with a very detailed plan on what I want and how I intend to get it. But that is not the case.
Although I plan things out ahead of time, I almost never end up following that plan. The plan is more like a outline to help me if I don’t know what to do next.
I write a lot of papers. Do I plan them, and make an outline before I start writing? Sure. But I only plan the main points. While I’m writing, I let the information come out however it’s going to come out. Usually I end up somewhere totally different than I thought I would. I had no intention of telling you how I write papers, but here we are.
Anyway, I plan ahead as a safety net. But I know that things change, and new things pop up. That’s why I don’t have an answer to this question.
Five years ago, if someone asked me where I thought I’d be in five years (and I’m sure someone did), I probably would have been pretty far off. The way I see is if I couldn’t accurately predict my future five years ago, why would I be able to do it now?
Opportunities come up all the time, and the choice to take that opportunity can make a huge difference in your future. Since there’s no way to predict the opportunities that will arise, I don’t see a need to predict where I will be in five years.
Sure, having goals and plans for the future is great, and supporters of this say that you should constantly be editing your five year plan, but why? That seems pretty pointless. It’s great to have ideas about the future, but I try to avoid the details, because chances are that’s not how it’s going to happen. Why waste the time editing your plan? Just know where you want to go and be constantly working toward it. No need to plan it all out.
I know I’m going to want a house someday, but that doesn’t mean I need to plan every detail. I don’t know what my income will be, or where I’ll be working, what the housing market will look like. There are so many unknowns. What I do know is that I’m going to need a whole lot of money. So I know now that I should be saving money instead of shopping online. That’s all I need to know right now. I can’t predict the future, so I can’t plan for it. I think things are easier that way.