Thursday, June 23, 2011

The 10-year plan.

Last December I met a partner in a top law firm in Minneapolis. While I did not know her job status at that point, I was already intimidated by her matter-of-fact way of speaking and how she challenged everyone in the room. I was the new person. The fresh meat. The one who sat with her head down, just like in school when you hadn’t quite gotten all the reading done and hope that your teacher doesn’t call on you, when of course they are actually looking for the person with their head down. I was the meek one. She was the cobra.

A few weeks ago, I ended up grabbing a drink with this woman. She is someone who expects a lot out of you. She wanted to know what my goal is 10 years down the road, while also forcefully reinsuring me that I am young and shouldn’t have everything planned out. I was thinking about this today, about how hypocritical that is. The fact that she asked me what the big goal was in one breath and was I going back to school and if so where and would I still work or would I put all my time into school and how would I pay for that? And when I made up a plan that sounded like something I might think about doing one day, she told me in her very next breath not to have it all planned out yet because you never know where life will take you. That you should want to travel and be free enough to take a job in a new city. That you need to have connections everywhere and keep fostering them. Saying what every adult figure in my life has always told me but in her own unique, forceful way. Her east-coast way. Her direct, un-“Minnesota Nice” way.

I left that outing a bit worse for the wear. My heart was beating, skin prickling, mind whirring. What was my 10-year plan? I have a friend who is incredibly good at this. At planning things out, every month, to make sure that what needs to be done gets done with enough time measured in for happy hours and impromptu get-togethers. Who knows what is going on every weekend, because most of them are planned. (If they are not it is only a matter of time.)

I’m a planner, but when I’m planning too much, too often, I get incredibly stuck. I feel like I’m trapped. Suffocated. I’ve started telling my friends that I will be disappearing in July (which is semi-true) solely because I know I already have a few weeks of that month planned out and know I’ll need spontaneity in there. Planning for spontaneity? Yes. That sums up what I believe in best. I hope for adventure while living with my feet on the ground.

I think what impresses me most about the first woman is the fact that she is totally open with her love life. She is a lady in the middle of her life and she calls her boys, lovers. Right now, though, she has a boyfriend. This is big. They are both too busy to actually have what us Midwesterners would deem a “normal” relationship, one where you see your significant other at least every other day. But she has planned time with him, and that is what she wants. I want more. As much as I want to foster the relationship I have with her, I also want to know what she did or didn’t do that led her to this point in her life. I’m surrounded by young 20-somethings getting married every weekend. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but that is not what I want right now. Open bar and cute groomsmen, yes. Lifelong commitment and buying a house? No, thank you.

The independent streak in me is running rampant right now. Because of this, and because of my hectic, fantastic, work-filled July, I am planning out August to include a few plane rides and adventures. When I change my scenery I also typically figure out what my next move will be. Here’s to the unknown. Here’s to the next 10 years.

1 comment:

  1. your blog is fantastic. can't wait to read more.


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