Sunday, April 01, 2007

Where's That Crystal Ball?

I answered a MEME for a friend of mine the other day. It was pretty much the typical questions you see: What’s your favorite color? Where’s your favorite vacation? Do you have any tattoos? I’ve answered these many times, usually with the same answer. I think one of these days I’ll answer yes to the tattoo question and say I got a ball of yarn and knitting needles on my upper right arm and see if anyone notices.

But there was one questions that threw me off. “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” I sat staring at the computer. I had no answer. I had no witty retort, no inspiring dream, no extravagant plan, not an inkling of what to put down. So I said, “I don’t know.”

Honesty cuts right to the point.

It’s a little sad and scary to me that I have no goals or plans for what I want to be doing in 10 years. I’ve been so busy taking things a day at a time and just trying to get through the days of the last couple of years, that I’ve forgotten how to look ahead.

I asked Al the same 10-year question, and he talked about being retired in 10 years and how much money he wants us to have in savings and in our retirement accounts. OK, that’s very practical and very necessary. But why? Because we need money to fall back on if he can’t find a job immediately. Find a job where? What kind of job? What do you want to do? He doesn’t know either.

Two people living one-day-at-a-time, hoping for an answer to appear out of the sky. Or maybe on the cover of a magazine: “Where you should be in the next 10 years, Kell.”

This is where I put on layers of black clothing, slather on pale make-up, grab a notebook and start writing pity poetry. And I would, if I had any of that make-up. Where do you get white foundation, any way?

Actually, the Welbutrin works way too well for me to wallow for too long. But it doesn’t completely numb the emotions, so I still have my moments of despair. They are usually triggered by moments like this, when I’m forced to think about my life. It’s a very nice life, I’m very lucky and appreciative of that. So, why is there a nagging little voice whispering, “I want more,” in my ear? Maybe it’s not saying “more.” Maybe it’s saying “something else.”

When I was in college, we had to write an essay about where we want to be in 10 years. I didn’t have any idea then, either, come to think of it. I guess planning ahead has always been an issue with me. But I’ll never forget what one of the girls in class said: In 10 years, I’ll be sitting on the beach, outside of my home, with someone I love, waiting to hear if I have been nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay.

Wow. Is copying someone’s dream the same as plagiarism, because I really like that one. And do you know when I heard that, I didn’t doubt for a minute that she would achieve that dream. Some in the class giggled, some just did sympathetic nodding, and the teacher praised such great ambition. But I admired how she knew so well what she wanted that she was willing to put it in writing and have it read for everyone to hear. Even if I new what I wanted, I wouldn’t have the guts to admit it. What if they laughed? What if they nodded sympathetically, knowing that never in a million years could I make that happen, let alone 10.

So, is it easier to not think big, just in case it doesn’t work out? Is it easier not to make plans, just in case things don’t turn out the way you hope? Maybe you should not express what you hope, just in case it doesn’t turn out, that way no one will be disappointed or worse, say “I told you so.”

Hell no! That’s just the fear talking. I don’t have to be nominated for an Oscar, which would be really difficult to achieve any way since I have never written a screenplay. But I could get an article published in a magazine. Or I could write on a blog and have supportive people chime in (shameless begging here).

So, let’s think about this. What do I want to be doing that’s different in the next 10 years.

I’d like to be going to the UK at least once a year for a month at a time. This 2-weeks stuff isn’t long enough. I just start to feel comfortable and know the coins when it’s time to leave.

I’d like to have a business of my own. That’s as far as I’ve gotten with that particular idea. I’ve thought about owning a craft shop, a coffee/lunch place, a kitchen store with a lunch place, an alpaca farm, a pub. The fact that I would have no idea what I’m doing doesn’t dissuade me too much. Ina Garten had no idea how to run a shop when she bought the Barefoot Contessa, and she did ok. And I don’t have an annoying nervous laugh like she does. What I’d really like is to have a business with my brother because I know he wants to have a business of his own, too, and I think we’d work well together.

I’d like to say I’ve been to Alaska. I’ve wanted to go to Alaska for the last 10 years. I really don’t want to go another 10 years without going.

I’d like to own some land. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet—alpacas, rescue animals, sheep (but I don’t think I want to work that hard), or just one big ol’ garden. Or nothing, just somewhere to spread out and breathe.

It hasn’t escaped my notice that if I’m 10 years older, my mom will also be 10 years older. So, I’d like to have an apartment or a suite for her to move in to with me if she needs to. She’s pretty resilient, but I want us to be there when she needs us.

I want to be outdoors more. I want to spend more time hiking, walking, and camping. We’ve been playing around with the idea of getting a camper, maybe we should think a little more about that.

I don’t know where I’d like to be living in 10 years, besides Scotland, but I don’t think I can get Al to do that. So, I’d like to spend the next few years seeing different areas in this country and make plans for where I want to live. Oh, and Al can live there, too, if he wants.

I think that’s enough for now. Oh, I would also like to be 135 pounds in 10 years. If I’m gonna dream, I might as well dream big.

That wasn’t so scary. Of course, I stayed pretty safe, I think. I just can’t seem to take that extra step and look a little deeper for what my heart really wants me to do in 10 years. But I’ve got plenty to think about in the meantime.

So, where do you want to be in 10 years?


Betty said...

You'll take me with you to Alaska, won't you? It's not a good idea to decide where you want to be or what you want to be doing ten years from now, because you'll probably change your mind many times in the meantime. Just take it in smaller doses, and in ten years, look back and see how far you've come.

Jay said...

This is kind of like that "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" question everyone gets asked in interviews. I really hate that question. I always want to say "hopefully not stuck out here in this dump" or something like that.

I guess where I see myself and what I want to do in the next 10 years aren't really the same thing. But, maybe setting goals like "by the time I'm 44 I will have done this or that" isn't to bad of an idea really. If I don't set a goal and a date I won't really do any of the things needed to move towards that goal.

Like traveling to England. I'm planning on doing it some day. But, I don't even have a freaking passport!

I'm not real sure what my point is here. Anyway, 10 years is a loooooooong ways off. I plan on still being alive, but that's all I can come up with right now. ;-)

steve said...

Alaska is spectacular. I drove there twice in 2006, and I'd do it again. Don't let that one get away from you.

Peggy said...

*smacks head in disbelief* Jay! Get a passport!! It's better to have one and not need it than the other way around!

In ten years time I hope to be somewhere warm, drying off from a great dive.

Lisa said...

Kell, your dreams sound very nice, once you put your mind to dreaming them! :) I have a friend with a fishing boat in Alaska, and he loves to entertain . . . just let me know when you're going.

As for my dreams? I need to ponder that.

susan said...

Maybe you should start with a shorter next year...or even next week!

Alaska is a goal of ours too. We were going to take the ferry there last has gotten too kid centered. In ten years, things will be changed too much to really know...

her indoors said...

where do i see myself in 10 years - hopefully still alive and kicking! gosh good question off to go and think about that!

Lena said...

Well 10 years AGO, I had major health problems and all I wanted was to be where I am now - namely happy and mostly healthy.

I guess I'm too old even now to pursue any of my song writing dreams but I'd hope to be still supporting my sons in their musical ambitions. Mind you, I would like to publish a book one day - so I'd like to be able to call myself an author of fiction by 2017.

In reality I'll probably be getting called 'granny' and trying harder to keep fit!

Kell said...

Mom--I'm not sure we can get Al to Alaska to live It's cold for a long time there. But I think you and I would love it.

Jay--Get your passport! It's nice to have it, even without definite plans.

Steve, Lisa, Susan--I'm definitely going to Alaska!

Peggy--That sounds wonderful.

Her Indoors--Alive and kicking would be good, wouldn't it?

Lena--You're not to old to pursue songwriting! I think being older, we have much more to offer in our writing. And you're right, I forgot to mention that I'm hoping for good health in 10 years, too.