a new five-year plan

The bloggess posted today about a meeting with her “shrink,” and the shrink’s desire for her to figure out what she wanted out of her life.

She replies to this, after a week of thought, with:

I’m not one of those people.  I just do shit and then other shit happens.  Sometimes it’s good shit and sometimes it’s shitty shit, but none of it is planned.  And I sort of suspect that if I stopped to actually consider who I am, I’d stop being “me”.  ”Me” never knows who I am.  And now I sound like an existential Tarzan.  Awesome.

It’s been eating at me for the last week, but I think I’ve finally figured it out.   My five-year-plan is to never be the kind of person who’s stable enough to have a five-year-plan.  It’s technically the same plan I had five years ago, and guess what?  I’m totally on track.

Those of you who read her blog will recognize her particular sense of humor, and writing style, but this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, and, as you know, quite intensely. You can read about my midlife crisis here, if you haven’t already.

I met with a good friend this morning, a woman a few years older than I am who has just started a new business in facilitation/leadership coaching/engagement consulting, and we brainstormed about my strengths, interests, personal and professional goals, etc. I have a few ideas, some suggested readings, and a model for designing a business plan.

I’m excited about this, and hope it leads to some clarification for me, and maybe a more focused path for the next/last twenty years of my professional life. I’m thinking these are all good things, and wondering if they are things I should have done twenty years ago, but never mind about that.

I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about my “self” twenty years ago — what I thought I knew, what I thought I wanted, how I thought I’d get it or decided I didn’t deserve it. Part of this recent thinking is triggered by professional frustrations, but also because my sons are approaching the long-awaited Age of Independence, and I’m constantly trying to find the balance between being a “parent” and letting them figure it out for themselves. As I commented on the Bloggess’s post, my sons make me crazy sometimes because they’re so optimistic and I just think they’re being irresponsible because they don’t account for all of the possible things that might go wrong on the way to their poorly-thought out, not-that-ambitiously-pursued dreams. At the same time, I kick myself Every. Single. Day. for not being braver, and thinking of all the cool, kick-ass things I would have/could have/should have done when I was young and relatively free of responsibility if only I would not have been afraid. So clearly I’m not qualified to give them advice, or even a hard time — maybe they’re doing right all the stuff I did wrong.

She also posted this video. Amanda Palmer, “In My Mind.” Love the words, and although I’m not planning on getting any tattoos (maybe a little one?) or painting my eyebrows on quite like that, I find it to be very inspiring. I think I’m going to listen to this every morning for a while.  UPDATE: I especially like the last stanza: And in my mind, I imagine so many things, things that aren’t really happening, and when they put me in the ground I’ll start pounding the lid, saying I haven’t finished yet, I still have a tattoo to get that says I’m living in the moment. And it’s funny how I imagined that I could win this winless fight, but maybe it isn’t all that funny that I’ve been fighting all my life, and maybe I have to think it’s funny if I want to live before I die, and maybe it’s funniest of all to think I’ll die before I actually see that I’m exactly the person that I want to be.

So my new five-year plan: look for open doors, and walk through them. Meanwhile, try to more thoroughly enjoy the room I’m in.

2 Responses to “a new five-year plan”

  1. 1 Boston Margy
    September 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    That sounds like a great plan to me!

  2. September 21, 2011 at 1:46 am

    An absolutely brilliant plan! So much other “shit” happens in five years that any set plans, regardless of how clever and realistic they may seem today, can easily end up being mere fantasy in just a few years. Stick to yours instead, it’ll bring you loads of interesting experiences and you’ll learn heaps. What else can you ask for in a great plan?

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