I admit, making five-year plans has always seemed like an exercise in futility to me. Aren’t you just jinxing yourself, daring some Sky Being to come down and rain all over your lovely little five-year plan? That probably says more about me than it does about anything else, but it’s an idea I never found any utility in before. I’m a big fan of lists and planning and goals, as you probably already know, but the five-year thing seemed like assuming I had much more control over my life than I actually do.
But then, what would I be planning towards? Most of the major elements of my life are already satisfactorily in place; I have a career I love and a job that suits me thoroughly, I have all the kids I want to have, and I’m content in my marriage. We’re not planning to move anytime soon, and no one will be switching schools or starting/finishing new degrees around here. Teaching is distinctive as a career path because unless you plan to move out of the classroom, there’s not really a lot of upward mobility. I have no idea what I’ll be feeling a decade or two from now, but in the next five years, I simply can’t imagine leaving the classroom.
Are there things about the house I’d like to do? Sure; I haven’t made any progress on making our backyard a lovelier or more useful space, and the house itself could use some work, like replacing all the windows and having the plumbing looked over. The next big trip we take will probably be the summer after the girls graduate from middle school, when I’ll get a travel/sabbatical grant from my school and use it to take us all somewhere fun, but I’m sure we’ll take smaller trips between now and then.
Do I have personal goals? Of course–I still have a whole long list of things I want to accomplish or achieve. There’s a lot of travel on that list, and a lot of skills and experiences I’d like to have. How many will get done in the next five years? I have no idea. More importantly, what will I experience in those years that I never dreamed of putting on that list?
Rather than making plans, I like to think I keep my own values in mind as I navigate waters that turn from smooth to choppy so quickly. I try to protect my little passengers, and equip them to sail on their own some day. I try not to lose sight of myself and what distant shores I might want to explore, all on my own.
Do you make five-year plans?