True story: I have never had a sincere answer to the question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” that I have frequently been asked in job interviews. I would provide some BS statement to appease the interviewer, but inside my mantra was “I want to be happy, and as long as I am helping people, I will be happy.” This is still my mantra and automatic response when asked about the future, because being happy in whatever circumstance I am in is, for me, completely within my control. But I digress.
Recently I had this mind blowing realization that I am actually devoid of skills in the “looking into the future and seeing where I want or will be” area. At some point in my adult life, I started living in the present (kids will certainly help with that) and also planning a bit ahead, but only in the categories of vacations or activities. As my tenure as a stay at home turns the corner (i.e. kids are now in school 5 half days a week), I can honestly say that I had given headspace to what tasks I would undertake to fill those hours while the kids were in school. But never once had I thought about how I wanted to be/look/feel in 5 years. Until this weekend, when I watched my mid-60s year old parent move about the day, with many of those movements seeming to be a struggle. At first I bemoaned the lack of effort (I assumed) said parent was putting into the childcare activities which was the purpose of the visit. But as I dug little deeper, what I realized was that it was physically and mentally draining just to survive in that environment. Forget thrive or enjoy oneself. That is when it hit me: I don’t want to be/look/feel that way in my 60s, when my kids are young adults. And getting that on a visceral level, allowed me to see that I am heading down that road unless I get my shit together FOR REAL.
So, I called my older brother and gave him a spiel that went like this:
“Bro, our genetics are a ticking time bomb. We need to take better care of ourselves NOW because we are all we’ve got and we cannot end up like our parents. We’ve got to be able to run around and have fun adventures in our 60s.” He agreed, thanked me for the PSA and went about his day.
This experience definitely served as an interruption in my “I have no motivation or time to take care of myself” internal chatter, and now the challenge is to keep it in the forefront of my mind when the devil and angel on my shoulders whisper in unison to make other choices. My future self will be the result of the choices I make now, which is something we hear a lot as kids and young adults when we mess up, but I had certainly not seen the evidence of it as a middle aged adult until now. Which begs the question: who dropped the ball in telling me?? Did you all know this and refused to tell me?? WHAT ELSE DO I NOT KNOW?? (not rhetorical, drop your factoids and wisdom in the comments and help a fellow human out please!!)
To round this out, let’s all take a few breaths to think about what we want for our future selves. If you are like me and that is unnatural, then think about what you will be in the future if you stay the course and do not change a thing.
Does this clarify anything for you?
If so, pay it forward.
If not, pay it forward. Cuz someone somewhere needs to hear, see and feel it, just like I did.
Take care of yourself – no one else can or will do it for you.