I love it when a plan comes together…
But let’s be realistic, things rarely go to plan. Plans change.
Being a highly creative and “attention-faceted” adult, I have a hard time with nailing down long term goals. It makes it really hard for me to do those five and 10-year plans. There’s lots of versions of me I could see myself being in 10 years. It’s hard to narrow that down to one thing. Then plan the next 10 years getting to that one thing. I broke it down, and did a shorter 5 year plan, and even that took time and a bit of frustration to compact and get on paper.
But I (we) did it. We Had A Five-Year Plan! In five years this is what we want life to look like. Then we plan. We step back and say “okay, in 5 years we want this, then by the 3-year mark we have to have this. Taking the big picture, down into manageable parts. Detailed so I knew which steps to take when. Yadda yadda… “for this to be possible …this this this, and then again six months… ” and so on. We had a pretty good time line of the markers for our plan, a path so to speak. Culminating in the grand overall creation of the life we wanted to have somewhere around 2025.
I was prepared for such a time as this…
In my many years of adapting to my world, I’ve learned a few things. One is not to plan too deep or too far ahead. Plans change. I learned that the hard way, more than once. I was one of those high schoolers who had every aspect of my life planned out by the time I was 16. Probably even sooner than that, like 12. I knew who I was going to marry, how many kids we were going to have. Decided what kind of car I was going to drive, where I was going to live, everything. All written down in my diary. THAT was going to be my life, tied up in a little ribbon and heart lock.
Little did I know that life is not a MASH game and some things don’t work out exactly how we thought. Most definitely,10 years from now, your opportunities, passions, interests, income, state of the world itself, may be a little different. At least that is how it was when I was 12. By the time I was 19 life wasn’t working out like I planned. I wasn’t even at 25 yet but I was already getting discouraged in this whole planning stupidity. Why take the time to plan if everything is just going to get messed up anyway? And by everything outside of my control. (Because I was not at all taking responsibility for the choices I was making in my own little realm). It made sense for a 19 year old that knew everything to just stop the “planning” part of adulting. Maybe a poor choice, but there I was.
Moving on, in about two decades I probably hadn’t really sat down to plan more than a year or two out at a time. So a plan for 5 years was a pretty good marker for me. I was starting to figure out life, and I was only 40! (ha ha…) I was at least starting to figure out some of what I kind of want to do with the next era of life.
Always expect Murphy’s Law to be in full effect…
Then Covid hit. The least of things, it threw a wrench in all that planning I took the time to do. I put a lot of intention and thought into that plan. I did the whole #last90days thing in 2019, in January 2020 made my dream board, the end of January 2020 landed a new job that was wonderful. All these moves put us well on our way to the 12 month benchmark to meet the first real implementation of our plan — to live abroad for a year or 2. Working for room and board on eco farms in Costa Rica, Belize, and Portugal. Then to teach English in Thailand and Vietnam.
To put simply, to be nomads for a few years, learning about the world, not just vacationing in it. Learning how to better sustain and nurture our own family and communities back home when we returned. Yeah now, to build that dream and vision that started out on a piece of paper, clearly laid out with all the steps. I was on that path, and that was January of 2020. Little did we know…
Plans change, right? There is this crazy sickness going around in China and parts of Europe that we weren’t sure what was going to happen. Good thing we weren’t planning on traveling for like a year, but we were planning on giving up our lease and moving in with family soon in preparation to leave in a year. We still had the plan though, and kept going forward.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…
Then my great job that solved a big piece of our puzzle, went away. First for a few weeks while we anticipated slowing the spread. Then that business shut down and moved out of state for good. Thankfully I had unemployment to pay the bills, but saving the amount we planned wasn’t a feasible option for the foreseeable future. And it dragged on and became all consuming for the entire globe, and changed many, many plans for millions of people and their loved ones.
March 2021 was when we’re supposed to leave the country for our adventure. March 2021 has come and gone and I’m still in the heartland of the USA. Unable to travel easily and safely to any of the countries that we had on our list. Financially it wouldn’t be responsible right now anyway. The programs that we were going to volunteer and work with are not taking any international participants for the foreseeable future. So a big chunk of the plan went to squat, just like that. Slowly over the course of a year, it seemed farther and farther away. Plans change.
And sometimes, you just pull the rudder and pray…
Oh yeah, also on top of the travel shut down, job losses, and overall malaise of the pandemic, that family that we were moving in with to save money for our travel? They had to adjust their plan as well, and had decided to move to another state. So to catch up, by the end of the summer of 2020, we packed up our apartment, putting everything into storage, my job’s gone, and the family is moving out of state. We don’t want to stay in our apartment, and really couldn’t afford to anymore until this whole mess gets back to normal.
One of the biggest things I’ve realized along the way is you just have to roll with it, you have to be able to flow. You have to be able to adapt and overcome, or you get stuck. And it’s hard to get unstuck when you’re stuck. You have to find the next right step and just keep going forward.
We had to make a choice to re-evaluate and re-direct, and move forward. Look at a few things and make some quick decisions, still keeping those long term goals and visions in mind. Without knowing really anything in front of us anymore, we were up and moving an extended family and a dozen furred and feathered friends to Kansas.
Standing in my own Field of Dreams…
That was August 2020, one year ago, I found myself standing in a old unkempt field on a little farm in Kansas. And this is coming from a girl who never wanted to be 20 minutes from my favorite coffee shop and can barely keep tomatoes alive on my porch in Colorado. Now I have a flock of chickens and about a dozen tomato and pepper plants I talk to daily. And big huge dreams of a little micro farm that me and my partner are going to learn to cultivate and regenerate. To build something to nourish and sustain us and others in the community.
And there is the irony of life, even when plans change. At the end of that Five-Year Plan, was for us to be running our own businesses which afforded us the time to do the things we want to do, and for at least two to three months a year that we could travel the world. Eventually to learn the skills and garner the experiences to help build up our community.
Growing the vision day by day…
Just because the circumstances and the road right in front of me changed a little bit here and there, I’m still here. Even when we came up to road that was closed off completely, and we had to backtrack and go find a roundabout way to go take two lefts and a right to get back to where we need to be. Regardless, in a way I’m still ending up on the same trajectory to reach that end game. That plan that I wrote down 18 months ago is still in play, we just had to adjust some movements to stay on target. But I am the captain of my ship, and I am capable of navigating the waters.
Don’t give up on the vision just because the line of sight changes. Plans change, the dream doesn’t have to.
I’m not in the same place I was last year, and I’m not in the same place I was 5 years ago; in every sense of being in a place. My path may look dark and windy sometimes, but I’ve always been on the same path; my path. I’ve been always heading towards that version of me that is the most purposeful and happy and shining.
I’m 1,000 miles from where I was, but I’m closer to ME than I’ve ever been.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of The We Spot, it’s employees, sponsors, or affiliates.