Life is rarely what we expect it to be.
Yes we have hopes and dreams and goals. And yes, sometimes we attain them. But when you look at your life, where it is today, and where “5-years-ago-you” thought it was going to be, I’m willing to bet that it looks nothing like you expected.
I dare you to find one person who’s life is exactly what they thought. And if you find them, please, tell me about them, because they’re a rare phenomenon.
When I was growing up (including my 20’s) and I thought about what 32 was going to look like, not one part of me thought I’d be living with my mother, working in video production, leading worship, running a youth group, unmarried with no kids of my own, and dating a guy 18 years older than me.
Go ahead…do the math…I’ll wait…
I didn’t think my closest friends would be anywhere from 5 to 15 to 30 minutes, to 3 to 14 hours (by plane) away from me. I didn’t think I would rely so much on social media and blogging and skype to feel like I’m still connected to people.
I didn’t realize any of this because, mainly, I stopped guessing. I stopped expecting.
I hate when someone asks, “what’s your 5 year plan?”
Uh…to be happy with my life in 5 years?
Seriously. What do you say to that? Not to say that I don’t have goals or aspirations, but I’ve learned (or maybe just been jaded enough to realize) that things usually don’t go the way you planned. So I stopped planning.
When I was younger my “plan” was to be married at 24 and have at least one child if not two by the time I was 30, with eventually a total of 4. I was going to be a stay-at-home mom who worked part time once the youngest was in school. Know where that got me? Incredibly depressed at 30 because my life was no where near that.
Side note: if I got married at 24 I’d be divorced and severely unhappy. Three cheers for life not going as “planned”!
So if you ask me now, where do I see myself in 5 years? My answer is “happy.”
Maybe Dave and I will be married. Maybe we’ll have a child. Maybe we’ll have twins! Maybe I won’t be able to conceive. Maybe we’ll adopt. Maybe we’ll just have his 3 boys. Maybe I’ll be leading worship around the world. Maybe I’ll only lead worship at my home church. Maybe I won’t be leading worship at all! (Although that’s very unlikely.) Maybe I’ll have a huge youth group. Maybe I won’t be part of the youth group at all. Maybe I’ll stay at home. Maybe I’ll be working 50 hours a week. Maybe I won’t be a producer anymore. Maybe I’ll start my own production company. Maybe I’ll live somewhere that I won’t have to worry about warming my car up for 30 minutes because it’s covered in a giant sheet of ice (not that I’m bitter about today or anything…). Maybe we’ll own a house. Maybe we’ll be renting a place. Maybe…
Guys, there are a lot of maybe’s. A lot of ways life can go. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism (ha! another maybe) but if I don’t “plan” for any of these things to happen and I just let them, then I’ll be happy. At least I’ll have a better chance of it, because I’ll know that whatever decisions I made “in the moment” were what led me to that outcome.
My point is this: if I worry about what’s going to happen and I try and make things happen, chances are they’re not going to work out that way. So I’ll just worry about making the right decision for that day and trust that I’m on the right path. After all, ultimately, that’s all I can do, right?
Life is scary and stressful enough, why should we add to it?