Today I was sitting in my Principles of Writing and Rhetoric class and the professor asked “Do I need to give my ‘don’t stress out talk?'” While waiting for a class response the girl next to me raised her hand and said, “I’m graduating in two weeks and I’m really wondering ‘What do I do with my life now?”” So the professor told us to take out a piece of paper and write in present tense where we see ourselves in 50 years. This is what I wrote.
I’m 70 years old, retired and happy. Alex and I have been married for 45 years and our three kids have their own kids now. The house is decorated perfectly and just the right size. Kyla and her husband come by every Friday for our regular high stakes poker games. When the scenery here in Denver look a little drab we can now afford to go elsewhere. Paris is next, or maybe Hawaii. The gardens are beautiful and make me miss my Grandpa and Daddy. I’m still sharp as a tack and sassier than ever.
After about 10 minutes she said, “Now write about where you see yourself in 25 years and what you need to be doing then to get where you want to be in 50 years. This is what I wrote.
As a 45 year old lawyer, I’ve made quite a name for myself around here. Surprisingly I’ve still never had to hire a nanny. Between Alex and I we’re raising respectful, intelligent children. The house is big and sometimes hard to keep up with but overall I’m happy.
After 5 minutes she told us to write about what we need to do in 10 years to get where we want to be in 25 years. This is what I wrote.
I’m 30 years old and a successful lawyer. I have a toddler at home and one on the way, which some people think changes my work ethic or ability to win a case but I continuously prove them wrong. Alex has been so supportive of me as well as the rest of my family. Daddy always brags that his daughter is a lawyer now. I’m happy with where I am.
After another 5 minutes she told us to write about what we need to do in 5 years to get where we want to be in 10 years. This is what I wrote.
25 years old and almost done with law school at DU. Alex and I got married last year so that I have this whole year to study for the Bar Exam. We have a lovely downtown apartment since he works at an accounting firm downtown. We still go to Sunday family dinners but since mom and dad sold the house Theresa and Heather alternate who hosts. Heather and David have a 3 year old now and eager for another. I’m simply surrounded by happiness.
And again 5 minutes passed and she told us to write about what we need to do in 1 year to get where we want to be in 5 years. This is what I wrote.
I am constantly studying for the LSAT, I admit I’m not the easiest person to be around but somehow Alex still puts up with me. My parents tell me how proud they are and tell me not to stress too much. I decided not to work this semester to focus on the LSAT but I volunteer and am involved in a few student orgs. Overall, I’m happy.
And finally she said, “What do you need to do tomorrow to get where you see yourself in a year?” This is what I wrote.
I need to do my homework and go to work. I need to make sure Alex knows how much I appreciate and love him. I keep my parents up to date and try to make up for when I was a teenager. Breathe in, breathe out, and remember to smile.
Going backwards through the life steps was a new way to approach it, even for someone like me who has always been able to see myself in detail in the future. Two things remained consistent throughout, my family and Alex. And I never even questioned the name to write when I started with the 50 years. And it would be pretty amazing if it all worked out as planned. Too bad I’m a realist though.