I’m approaching a new birthday, a new age to remember: 32. Solidly in the 30s. For a long time, everyone your age is pretty much doing the same thing. School, birthday parties, first relationships, first jobs. And then at some point in your 20s, things begin to diverge. And your 30s…well, it looks different for everyone.
Some people are married, some single, some divorced. Some have kids. Some have decided they’ll never have kids. Some buy a house; others happily travel the world. Some are stay-at-home parents. Some climb the corporate ladder. Some HAVE climbed the ladder and realized the view from the top wasn’t what they wanted after all. Some are still trying to figure out what they want to do. Who they want to be. It’s only when you make choices and narrow down the path that you really start to see all the possibilities.
One thing you realize as you get older: no one actually has it figured out. Even the people who seemingly have all their shit together are pretty much making it up as they go along. And how could it be any other way? You’ve gained experience, sure, but there are still new ones being thrown at you.
Lately I’ve been getting the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Or some variation on the theme. The truth is, while I organize everything else in my life—finances, meals, parties, excel spreadsheets, bookshelves, closets, spice drawers—I’ve never focused on long-term plans for myself, my career, my growth. There are always surprises you can’t foresee. Some of the best choices in my life started as opportunities that fell into my lap. If I’d had everything planned out, would I have been open to them?
Weirdly, the older I get, the easier this unknowing is to accept. Limbo is temporary; there’s always an end. Always new adventures, new laughter, new joys. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the yard lately, and every day there is something new bursting forth from the earth. Today a hummingbird landed on the blueberry bush, feet away from me. We considered each other in the sun before she flew off. The only thing my five-year plan holds is to hold time and space to regard a hummingbird.
I don’t have it all figured out. I never will. Thank goodness.