You know that question they always ask in interviews - "Where do you see yourself five years from now?" That was always the toughest question for me. FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? I barely know where I'll be tomorrow. Why in the world would I think about five years from now? I don't ever remembering planning out "five years from now." I never thought I'd get married. Or have kids and be a stay-at-home mom. Certainly never divorced. Or ever live in Leavenworth. Or end up actually having a job in my field of journalism. Or have a dog. Again, one of my favorite sayings is, "You plan and God laughs."
A year ago, I was completely committed to changing the life of my boys as well as myself. I had weighed the pros and cons, talked ad nauseam to my counsel (i.e. mom and close friends), and done everything I could to carefully prepare everyone for this transition that I had decided upon.
Can you hear God laughing?
Suffice it to say, things did not go as planned. In fact, a year ago today, they started falling apart. As I desperately struggled to avert my gaze from the red flags I was seeing out of my peripheral vision, a part of me had a sinking feeling that even attempting to plan out any portion of my life was futile at best.
I look back on the past year with almost a feeling of awe. Awe at what I went through, as well as what others went through. Awe at the friends and family who opened their arms to me instead of shaking their heads. Awe at the judgement some passed on me without even knowing any better. Awe at the sheer resilience of my kids. Awe at the employer who welcomed me back. Awe at the man who didn't let me go. And awe at myself for making one of the hardest decisions of my life and somehow making it through.
Don't think I'm having a pity party for myself. I learned an enormous amount from this past year. And I know my change of plans pales in comparison to some people's. A year ago, my mom didn't have cancer. (Well, she probably did, but didn't know it.) Neither did two of my good friends. Imagine the year they've had. Endless tests. Chemo. Hair loss. Fatigue. Pain. It's CANCER, for God's sake. And they're all still here. Survivors.
Bet they didn't have that in their plans a year ago.
I like to plan. I like to have things to look forward to. But I usually only plan a few weeks or months out. As far as long-term plans? Well, I've decided to replace the word "plan" with something else - hope.
In the next year, I hope to be able to come to terms with where I am in life - this place I didn't intend to be. I hope to make the most of it. I hope to travel to one or more interesting places. I hope to progress in my job, which has now become my career. I hope to further try to instill in my kids the desire to succeed, to work hard, and to be good people. I hope to take more time to care for those who need it, especially those who have cared for me. More than anything, I hope to continue and further solidify the strong relationships I have now with those who are so incredibly important to me.
That's all I - or anyone - can hope (plan) for.