I was asked this question this evening and found myself quite stumped!
It’s a question that, had you asked my 15, 20, even 25 year old self, I would probably have had a fairly structured answer. I would have consulted my imagined timeline of my life, and where on that timeline I would have reached. I could even have given a ten or fifteen year plan!
Yet, ask me now at the age of 30 and I find myself without a clue of where to start.
Somewhere, between the age of 25 and 30, I lost my imagined timeline. My personally constructed view of how life was meant to go seemed to disappear, leaving me without the slightest clue, expectation or ideal of where my life should be heading.
While this would be enough to bring on mild panic in most people, I find it quite liberating. When I was younger, I was putting pressure on myself to reach certain ‘big life events’ by a certain age, without realising that life doesn’t work that way. I would compare my life to those of the generations before and to those of my friends and peers, looking at when ‘big life events’ happened for them, and adding them to my timeline as if they would be set in stone to happen at that time.
Yet, life doesn’t happen that way. I wasn’t married age 23 or 28 as my teenage and early twenties self respectively believed. I do not have a small brood of my children and live in a farmhouse on the outskirts of a city with my handsome husband as my teenage self believed would happen by the time I was thirty. Instead, life happened. This beautiful, devastating, chaotic, happy, sad, fun, frightening, incredible journey happened just as it should have – in the most unpredictable and exciting way.
Now, at the age of 30, I have let go of any timeline or expectation of the future. I don’t want to predict where I will be in 5 years time because I know that such a thing is futile. I continue to have hopes and dreams for what my future might hold but, in no longer holding myself to my imagined timeline, I am allowing more experiences into my life. I am looking at my future in an optimistic and excited way. I live for life to surprise me with what might happen next!