When I was younger, I used to do this exercise wherein I list down my “preferred state of life” at every stage until the age I intend to retire. At 18, I had 42 years left before I hit that mark. At 25, I now only have 35 years left. I’ve been pausing every after line wondering how I’ll get there. Looking at what I’ve written so far, comparing it to the lists I did in the past, everything has changed. Apparently, “my preferred state of life” at 60 is not even about what I put out, but who I am with.
In 5 years, I will turn 30 and I can’t help but wonder how much more time am I willing to waste chasing after things or people. I believe I’m not afraid of hard work, but I am afraid of losing the time I thought I had. It could be that I am overthinking “the now”, but is it overreacting to want to plan out your life? I still recall the very first time I watched Meg Jay’s TED Talk, 30 Is Not The New 20. I felt chills creeping in because everything was true.
You don’t start working on things at the age you intend to achieve those, you start way before. So now I’ve been wondering: What am I doing now that’s shaping my 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s? What am I doing with my personal life that’s helping me reach a stable relationship with my family and friends? What am I dedicating my time and effort on that’s building my eventual retirement? If I have to change something (and I know there are a lot), am I brave enough to do so?
For about a month or two now, people have been asking me this question a lot: What’s your plan?
To be frank, I don’t know the answer just yet. I have been thinking about several things for a year now, but plans will remain nothing but words stitched together on a piece of paper unless I take action. But apart from that question, I have been presented with several options too. It’s great to have options, but it can be confusing too. For the most part, I find myself wondering about fulfilment, purpose, social responsibility, and stability. I know, I know. We all do, right?
So here’s what my 25-year-old self is asking, do I live in a world that’s consumed with the idea of success? And if I try to answer myself now, here’s what I can think of. I believe that success is subjective. You can’t measure it by means of money, position, or number of relationships. Success has to be defined based on what’s truly important to a person, and it’s different for everyone. We all have paths to pave for ourselves. Some will have bumps, some will be rough, some will have concrete barriers, but not all will be linear.
I have been getting a crash course with my sister on how to deal with people from different generations. Apparently, someone took the time to study the work habits of people from different ages. Bottomline is, we all have our own triggers in life as a result of our surroundings, upbringing, and belief systems. While we can categorize ourselves to age groups, we all work towards a level of fulfilment in the workplace or at home. We can be plunging in this life alone, with a partner, or with several people, but we are all compelled to make decisions for ourselves. We can be affected by external factors, but it is how we internally process things that will create a dent in our lives.
What dent am I making? What effect am I making in other people that is affecting how they live or how they see life? I have no answers and I don’t have solutions for the multiple questions and problems I am facing at the moment.
Right now, I have this list to finish. But one thing is for sure. At 60, I want to be able to wake up early, cook breakfast for my husband, and maybe walk around the park and keep on writing.