The World is Wide Open

And it’s a good thing. There’s just so much fun stuff going on right now, it makes me happy. My eyes have a permanent twitch to them from constantly:

A. Staring at the computer screen or B. Reading Harry Potter (I’ve read them all before, but have a really fun kind of Booknesia- every time, I’m like, “WHOA! Does Voldemort win?” as though I don’t know.

I’m having one of those points in my life: one of those all too rare, golden ages- where I feel like I’m doing exactly what I want to do every day. The time I spend with my kids, the time I spend writing, listening to music, cooking, nay, even cleaning my house-are all imbued with a sense of choice that makes me feel good about where I am.

But, I’m also one who’s obsessed with long-range plans. So, when I saw a book with:

5 “Where will you Be 5 Years from Today?” emblazoned on it at Starbucks, I knew it had to come home with me. Obsessed with all things journally and blank booky, this one hit a few sweet spots. It’s green, it’s about a 5 year plan, it’s from Starbucks. BAM. Sold. In fact it was even the tipping point that made me purchase the tricky “Black Card”, which saves you 10% on every purchase. Of course, it COSTS $25. I knew I would take an economic logic lashing at home, and I was correct. My argument?

“We have a Barnes and Noble card, and THAT costs money!” The retort: “Yeah, but we spend at least $25 every time we go to Barnes and Noble!” Touche. Does the argument “But I waaaaaant it?” hold water?

When I think back to five years ago, I’m not where I thought I would be. But I believe I’m closer to being who I’m meant to be then my plan would have rendered me. Five years ago, I was working as a business to business journalist, covering laboratory issues and Medicare and Medicaid. It was a good job, but I spent much time at my desk thinking this wasn’t what I wanted to do forever. So I applied to law school, because it seemed like I would like it. (I know, good logic. Are you seeing a theme here? Whenever there’s a logic smackdown, me=loser. )

So I was quite pregnant and waiting with bated breath for my law school application results. I’d applied to all the usual DC/Maryland schools, but really only wanted to go to one that was public, so as not to come out with crazy student loans. I got into one.

My first kid was 7. Then our baby was born, my first girl. I made arrangements for her to go to a daycare near my school campus. We would take the train to Baltimore 4 days a week. We would start when she was seven months old.

I reserved my seat in the class, researched student loans. And then I hit a wall. There was a little piece of me whispering, “You don’t want to do this right now. Maybe someday, but not right now.”

On the day classes were to begin, I just didn’t show up. I didn’t call. Just…didn’t go. After a week or so, I called the daycare and freed up the space. Very few words were exchanged about it at home, but I think it was a relief. If that had been my dream, my husband and parents would have supported me to the ends of the earth.

But I think they all secretly wondered if I were doing it because it was my true desire, or because I wanted to prove that I wasn’t an almost teenage single mom anymore. After my first kid was born, when I was 20, I worked in the gym childcare, took my baby with me, and went to college at night. Not that there was anything wrong or shameful about that, but maybe I just wanted to keep going, prove that I could do it all. But some things, it just doesn’t make sense to do.

So here I am, 5 years and yet another kid later. I’m muddling along, but I’m content in a way that stems from listening to the voice that says “Do this, not that. Where do you REALLY want to be, not where do you think you should be.” I recognize that that’s a luxury, and am thankful for it.

The 5 year book says “This is not a “here’s how” book, it’s a “Why not?” book. I love that. I have no idea where I’ll be in 5 years, but I know how fast it goes. I love to make plans and castles in the sky, although I realize sometimes ending up far from them is the best thing that can happen.

Check out this Dar Williams song, “Closer to Me”. I love Dar, and this song never fails to inspire me to make the most of the day in front of me. Favorite line: “Am I the habit you’re too tired to break/I want you to love me/With every breath you take…”

Have you ever laid aside your plans to take a different, possibly less practical path? How did it go?

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Comments (8)

  1. Brenda - SeriouslyMama Tuesday - 11 / 11 / 2008 Reply
    I am totally in love with this song... I have always been one to think that complacency equals boredom. Nowhere near where I thought I would be at almost 34 years old but I am certainly not board. Big plans and full steam ahead, mama. :-) Brenda - SeriouslyMama’s last blog post..NaBloPoMo who?
  2. Devilish Southern Belle Tuesday - 11 / 11 / 2008 Reply
    I did, though not just career-wise. It's been both good and bad, but my situations are learning experiences nonetheless, and proving to be valuable ones. I'm trying to take it all in, and learn all I can, so that I may be able to make my dreams come true one of these days. It's never too late, you know? I love the idea of a "Why not?" book. Why not, indeed? Oh, and my own “But I waaaaaant it?” argument won out over my more practical side when it came to a tote bag I really wanted (and love, and am using), but didn't necessarily need!
  3. Issa Tuesday - 11 / 11 / 2008 Reply
    All my goals and plans have changed. I always wanted to do something big, something life changing and now all I want to do is stay home with my baby and watch him breath all day. I didn't feel like this when the girls were babies and part of me feels guilty. But I'm different now than I was when I had them. I was only 21 when my fist was born. My goals were bigger and more...i don't know. *shrug* Two things, I have re-read Harry Potter many times and I still love it as much now, as I did the first time I read each book. The other, I got the black Starbucks card too. (which I feel so special when I use.) I figure as often as I go there, 10% off every drink is worth it. Plus I got my drink free the first day, so really it only cost me 21 bucks. This, anyway is what I told my husband. Issa’s last blog post..I heart your blog meme
  4. Deb Thursday - 13 / 11 / 2008 Reply
    I'm going to look for that book! You've also inspired me to jot down some thoughts on this very topic which have churned about in my brain for awhile... I smell a year-end blog post which might suit the subject. Keep an eye out for something from me in December or early-January on this. Rock on. Deb’s last blog post..Decision 2008: Some Thoughts
  5. WPoFD Thursday - 13 / 11 / 2008 Reply
    I wish I could feel bad for you that you didn't become a lawyer. But, I don't. Instead, I think of Frost's The Road Not Taken. "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." WPoFD’s last blog post..Stream of Consciousness Blogging
  6. Jo G. Saturday - 15 / 11 / 2008 Reply
    Love me some Lindsay. Don't need logic to know that!
  7. Casey Sunday - 16 / 11 / 2008 Reply
    Good morning... checking in on my HASAY rounds. How are things going over there? Any exercise plans for the weekend? Casey’s last blog post..I Love This Time Of Year
  8. Christy Wednesday - 19 / 11 / 2008 Reply
    How brave of you to realize going to law school right then wasn't the right thing...I pray for that kind of clarity sometimes & it doesn't seem to come easy! BTW--love the B&N card--we have one too, b/c no way around it--we spent a bazillion dollars there every year--might as well get a discount!

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