Thursday, 21 May 2009

Twenty year plans

Kind of dove-tailing with my last post “about the future” is a conversation I had a couple of nights ago. I was chewing the fat with friends when one of them asked: “Where do you want to be in 20 years time?” The question kind of threw me. For many, this is a simple enough question – they can answer to the finest minutiae as to what street they’ll be living in, what they’ll be doing and with whom. Most of us have certain expectations in life – marriage, kids, a home of our own (or absence of these, if that’s your choice/expectation). And many of us assume that we can get to these points in a “it just happens” kind of way.

But for grander plans (not that these aren’t grand enough), sometimes it takes a little more. For all my best intentions, though, I’ve never been seen as one that plans much beyond my lunchtime. I know the value of a 5-year plan, in fact a plan of any sort. But I’ve struggled. Sometimes that reflects a stage in one’s life. Sometimes just choosing to block it out. It’s laziness. It’s fear.

Still, looking as far out as 20 years is a scary one. It’s all so unpredictable. To me, it’s like the weather. You can guess with some degree of certainty whether it’ll be fair or foul tomorrow, maybe until the end of the week. But what about in a month’s time? Or a year? Okay, there are always seasonal patterns to work with, and from a life-pattern perspective, I’m guessing that translates to the wife, kids and white-picket fence picture. But life doesn’t walk in a straight line. Well, that’s my excuse anyway…

To be honest, it helps to have some focus. True, worrying in the present about something that may never happen obviously drains your energy from the here and now. But drifting down some proverbial windy river in a canoe without an oar is a bit too random as well. I once heard a Chinese saying that went something like: “If you stay on the same road you’re going to end up where you are heading” – a statement of the obvious but with some value. The last thing you want is to wake up one day, believing that everything has passed you buy and wondering where the hell all the years went. So I’m biting the bullet a bit and dipping my toe in again with this planning lark. Still, 20 years time...Crazy….


  1. If I try to even think about answering that question, I'll get an anxiety attack - no joke! I used to ONLY think about what's next because I was never satisfied with what I have now. I can really only plan as far as 6 months or so!

  2. 6 months is a hell of a lot more than a lot of people out there - I guess it's all about taking pigeon steps.