Friday, October 23, 2009

The Next

Some people are planners.

Some people have ideas, when they are young, about who they want to be and what they want to do by a certain age. I knew people in high school who had already mapped out exactly what their lives would be, and knew even more in college who were the same way. People who would be married by 22, have a kid by 25, be finished with childbearing by 30 ("I want to be a young mom!"). People who would go to graduate school and start on the high-paced career track of an investment banker or corporate lawyer. People who were going to graduate, join the Peace Corps, and work for a multinational NGO making the world a better place.

I have never been that person. I am not a planner. When I was a kid, I was scared shitless of growing up. I remember being in 8th grade PE and thinking that when it became the year 2000 I'd be 20 years old! About to turn 21! My god, I was going to be ancient.

Now, I always had goals, things I worked toward. I got the best grades I possibly could, got into the school I wanted to attend, and even got excellent grades (freshman year Chemistry excepted) there, in case I ever wanted to go to grad school. But by the time the year 2000 rolled around, I had been in school continuously for 18 years. (That is not a typo. I started preschool in January of 1981, before I was even two years old.) And I had no idea what I wanted to study in graduate school, or even if I really wanted to go. So I didn't. I went to Europe, and then the dotcom bust happened, and then I started working.

I was never, however, the sort of person who had age goals. When I met Dan at age 22 I was nowhere near the mindset of wanting to get married anytime soon. Our long-distance relationship worked well for me, until it didn't, so I moved. Living in sin worked well for both of us, until eventually we decided that we wanted to get married, so we did.

Internet, we have a next, now. We have plans. We have things we want to do and goals we want to achieve, and in a way it's a little bit scary, but in a way it's also exciting. The first major goal was for Dan to finish school and finish his internship. Now that's accomplished, and we're working on Stage 2 of our Master Plan. It's taking longer than we thought. I've written before about how patience is not one of my virtues, and Stage 2 is not the sort of thing that has a specific time frame - it will happen when it happens, that Stage 2, and not until it happens.

But I want it NOW. I want these things to happen, I want Next to be Now. The last couple of months have been frustrating for me, primarily because I've been looking forward to what's next for a long time, and Next isn't Now yet. In the last week or two, I decided that it's not going to do me any good not to enjoy what is Now. So I'm taking photos of the fall, and we're going to parties, and last-minute road trips. Things we can only do Now.

And hopefully, before I know it, the Next will happen. And then it'll be Now. And that will be good.


Hillary said...

I like that you're not wishing away your Now because when your Next does happen (and I am crossing my fingers that it happens soon!) you will look back fondly on these parties and road trips and life as it was, Now. Lady, I am so excited for you and Dan!

Crafty Mama said...

Good for you to take advantage of NOW! I used to be a serial planner, until I finally learned that not everything can go according to a plan. Now is all about living in the present! :)

Yank In Texas said...

This is now now. And it will be then, soon.
Anyway, I am a planner. I love to plan. And I hate it when things take so slowly and the next isn't happening the way I planned, but that's life.
And things WILL happen. I mean, the getting there is lots of fun, no?

Emily SW said...

Yup, we go there sometimes, too. Whole Foods is closer and we're lazy. :)
In response to your post, I have a friend who once wrote to me saying, "If you don't love your Now, what will you love?" I really like thinking that way. Good for you for celebrating the now while waiting for the future.

Jess said...

I totally know how you feel. When we decided to move to Denver it took about six months to make it happen, and it was so frustrating. Enjoying the present helped me get through it, but really I just wanted everything to be the way I wanted it to be, you know? I think there are a few cryptic posts similar to this one in my blog archives from that time.

Nancy Goltry said...

Yeah!!! How exciting!! Have lots of fun making your Next! And I agree with Hillary enjoy your Now life because your Next life will be totally different but totally wonderful. :) Nancy

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping your Next will soon be Now. And then you'll be like me, bemoaning how the whole thing becomes Back Then too quick :)

Cilicious said...

My version of your Next is long gone, but I remember it as if it just happened. You two are mature and prepared.
All I can do is echo what everyone else said: Keep enjoying those parties and that traveling.
It is good to plan, but flexibility helps.

Leah said...

You KNOW I know how you feel. Hang in there!