Leaving yourself something to look forward to.
Updated: Oct 3
7 years ago I thought that by my mid twenties, I would have my own place, a steady relationship, a full time job, a decent social life and some hobbies; as well as a graduate degree or an MD (potentially). Thankfully two of those things are true, but the rest are essentially old framed and forgotten photos stuck in the back corner of someone's attic.
As a result, for most of the past couple of years I've been kicking myself for being behind on all my plans, not accomplishing enough, and not having everything together; and I know I'm not the only one that feels this way. Over the past couple of months though, my mindset has changed dramatically.
When I started my new job, and realized that this would be how my days go for the next 1-2 years, I had a really hard time wrapping my head around that (and still do). The consistency and stability are still foreign territory to me, as most of my jobs as a student were temporary positions. The one unexpected factor of discomfort that has come from that stability, has been running through my head as: "what's next?, is this it? is this what I've worked for over the past 7 years?"
The thought of being stagnant scares me probably more than anything else, anyone that knows me knows that I never hush up about what I'm going to do next; and that's when I realized that not accomplishing all of my goals on my original timeline is in fact a blessing.
I've got a minimum of 40 years left in the workforce, I'm not going to spend it all in one place. I accomplished some of my goals: I got a full time job in healthcare, and I have a stable relationship. So next, I work towards getting my own place and/or a graduate degree. All this means is that I can enjoy the blessing of having a steady income and relationship, and put the rest of my energy into planning my next step.
To me, the thought of moving forward in my career is exciting, and I know I have a long way to go, so that's what I've chosen to focus on right now. Others may choose to focus solely on themselves and their health before moving onto anything else. Some people prefer to stay in one place professionally and focus on developing themselves personally, they may choose to put their energy towards a relationship or starting a family.
All of these are forms of moving forward in life, if you're in your twenties or thirties and you haven't accomplished everything you want by now, then try to consider what you would be doing if you had. For me that was a real eye opener because I realized that not only was the picture fuzzy, but there wasn't much if any room for growth.
So remember, you want there to be room for more, leave yourself something to look forward to.