A Dreamy Future in the Past

Life doesn’t always go as planned, but it is still important to have a plan.

We’ve likely all had the 5th grade writing assignment “What is your life-like in 20 years?”  Well, I’m way past that 20 year mark and looking back, it didn’t come to fruition.  Was it suppose to?

When I was an 11-year-old girl in the ’80’s, I thought I’d be the first female President of the United States of America or play professional baseball, on a men’s team of course.  I thought I’d be an author and have 6 kids, adopted.  Back then, I feared the pain of childbirth and wanted to adopt all 6.

When in college, a few changes.  I wasn’tinterested in baseball anymore, but golf….maybe…except I had to work during college so there wasn’t much time for golf.  I dabbled in student government, I just may dabble more in the future with local stuff.  I decided I only wanted 4 kids and I wanted to stay home and home school them.  I got a minor in education so that I might be best prepared.

Well, the path we live isn’t straight or flat.  And that’s okay, having a road map is still important, but understanding that it will change is important too.  Every year, I write out my goals in the form of past tense statements, as if they’ve already occurred.  I have at least one goal for each of the following categories:

  • Finance
  • Health
  • Family Relationships
  • Career

Most years the goals are pretty similar, nothing earth shattering or life altering.  Lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt,stop yelling at the kids, work on a special project at work.  Pretty much ho-hum floating down a river, going fast, but enjoying the ride.  Then, class V rapids appear out of no where!river

What’s one to do?  Hold your breath, find a spot on the horizon and focus on it.  Panic will ensue, sure.  But if you can remain strong and rationale, the rapids will subside.

Last summer I was presented with the likelihood that a restructure was going to happen and that I’d be out a job.  I’m the main bread-winner, how is this going to work?  What do I do?  After a couple of months of emotional anguish, I took a deep breath and repeated that 5th grade assignment.  “What do I want retirement to look like?  When do I want to retire?”  It was time to make a new plan and start building a road map.  An opportunity to get out of this river and find another one.

Lessons learned?  Build a Plan.  Work the Plan.  Reassess the Plan.  Repeat often.