At the end of my final year in high school, a classmate floated the thought-provoking question: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
We were 18 at the time. Many of us said that we envisioned ourselves being married with children in 10 years. Some had dream careers, some knew how many children they wanted. Some did not even want to think that far ahead. We had plans, although most were vague.
We all had ideas of what we wanted and where we wanted to end up, but none of us knew exactly how we would get there. For some, things will work out according to some sort of plan. For others, it will be one heck of an adventure.
On the spectrum of life, there are two polarized ways of living: by the Life Plan or by the Life Adventure.
The Life Plan is encouraged by questions like my old classmate’s. We’re asked as children what we want to be when we grow up, what we want to study in college, and where we see ourselves in 10 years.
Planners know what they want, and they often know what they need to do to get there. They’re the ones that knew they would be doctors or lawyers since they were children, and they spend their entire lives working towards that goal.
At the other end of the spectrum are the Life Adventurers. They take life in heartbeats, knowing that everything as it is today can change tomorrow. Their lives are made up of unexpected event after unexpected event, and they often don’t know what they want to do or where they will be in the next few years or even the next few months. They take opportunities as they come, and they roll with the punches. They are often difficult to keep up with because their lives are constantly changing. But because their lives are constantly changing, they also have the most exciting stories.
Most of us fall somewhere on the spectrum, although we may lean towards one more than the other.
Neither is wrong, and neither is better than the other. There is logic and downsides to both. The Plan is safe, secure and predictable, but can be inflexible and restrictive. Meanwhile, the Adventure is daring, exhilarating, and flexible, but unpredictable and uncertain.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Life happens in heartbeats, so take life just as it was meant to be lived: in moments.” quote=”Life happens in heartbeats, so take life just as it was meant to be lived: in moments.”]
However, all of us must be a little bit of both in the complex scheme of life.
It’s good to have an idea of what you want from life. When answering my old classmate’s question, most of us envisioned ourselves being married with children in 10 years. However, most of us didn’t know when or where or with whom. As time passed and I reunited with some old friends at the end of college, some of us did have ideas of when we wanted to be married. Some of us knew what we wanted to do, but not what our exact job title would be. We also had ideas of which cities we wanted to end up in, but ideas are constantly moving targets. None of us will really know where we will end up until we’re there.
Life was meant to be an Adventure. We aren’t meant to know what the future holds. We plan because uncertainty scares us. Anything can happen. But that’s also the beauty of it: anything can happen. Life happens in heartbeats, and we must live it with every heartbeat. For some people, that means sticking to a well-defined Plan. But even the Plan will entail Adventures.
[clickToTweet tweet=”We aren’t meant to know what the future holds, but we plan because uncertainty scares us.” quote=”We aren’t meant to know what the future holds, but we plan because uncertainty scares us.”]
There will always be unpredictable events that will lead us to change our Plan, forcing us to be Adventurers.
That dream job you’ve aspired for might not work out. The relationship with the person you thought was ‘the one’ might not work out. An opportunity you’re not expecting might force you to choose between the life you’ve always dreamed of and the life you never imagined. One person can crash into your life and change everything.
Think about how you would’ve answered my old classmate’s question. Remember your old plans, your childhood dreams, and your old relationships (social and intimate). I definitely identify as more of an Adventurer. I remember wanting to be a doctor, a lawyer, a diplomat, and a CIA agent at different times throughout my childhood. I remember expecting life to fall into place after high school, and feeling like everything was falling apart instead. I remember all the relationships that I thought would last, and how most of them didn’t. My college years were a roller coaster of ups and downs. It was an exhausting and breathtaking adventure that shattered all my plans time and time again.
Seeing how things worked out now, I wouldn’t change any of it.
No matter which end of the spectrum you lean towards, remember that life happens in moments. Whether you’re a Planner or Adventurer, take life one step at a time. Planners, don’t be afraid to have an adventure. Adventurers, don’t be afraid to make plans. You both may be surprised at what you find. Either way, you will learn something valuable along the way. Just take things one step at a time.
Life happens in heartbeats, so take life just as it was meant to be lived: in moments.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Are you a Life Planner or a Life Adventurer?” quote=”Are you a Life Planner or a Life Adventurer?”]