Happy New Year!
I’m a very future-oriented person. When I was 13, I sat and planned my life out for the next 15 years. I kid you not: I had myself graduating at the top of my class at 18; getting married by 22; winning a scholarship to college; graduating from medical school at 26; having my first child by 27. And, as one of my career role models Penelope Trunk can tell you, this is the right approach. To some extent, life needs to occur by design, not by accident. Professionally, techniques like goal-setting, visualization, and the routinization of hard work gets you moving up the ladder. Personally speaking, more career-driven women in their 30’s are unmarried and childless than ever before (and not by choice). It seems, as a woman in the 21st century, you need to take ahold of your future in order to succeed.
But then again, maybe not. A New York Times article yesterday addressed the fact that we drastically mispredict what our future selves will want or even be like. Though many preach the benefits of self-sacrifice and delayed gratification, the end result may only be worth it if you are the type of person who doesn’t change your mind along the way. Otherwise, you may be better off doing what feels right and “leaning into it”. As Chicken Soup for the Soul co-creator Jack Canfield says, sometimes you don’t know what exactly you want, so you lean into what feels right, one baby step at a time, until eventually you get to somewhere you like.
As for me, I’m a mixed bag. I did graduate at the top of my class at 18; get a full scholarship to college; and was accepted into medical school at 22. But there were also issues I didn’t account for: At 23, my mother was diagnosed with bladder cancer. As someone who is particularly close to her mother, it shook me to the core. And even though she’s technically in remission now, that experience changed me. On the other hand, at 27, I won a series of business competitions. After some soul-searching, I decided to take a hiatus from my third year of medical school and embark on my unspoken dream of founding a start-up. It’s been an unbelievable journey, incredibly fun and confidence-building and life-enriching, but not at all something I had planned.
So now I view life as this: I am on a journey. I have a map and an itinerary, in the form of a list of goals and a daily agenda. But like any great traveler, I know how to stop when a bit of scenery is too beautiful to look away. Or how to stop and fix a flat, help a lost friend, you know the drill. I understand now that detours are inevitable, as much a part of the journey as the road and the sky. It doesn’t mean I can’t live with passion and a sense of determination and purpose – I know I’ll get to where I want to eventually. But the approach has made way for life to get in there. And that’s perfectly fine with me.
- Kath the Fabzilla says FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 is One of the Top Product Finds of 2012! (We are listed as #1!)
- Pink Sith has her 10 Favorite Beauty Blog Posts of 2012
- BellaSugar has 6 New Ways to Remix the Classic Smokey Eye
- The Beauty Brains answers: Will Using UV Lights to Dry Your Nails Give You Cancer?
- Truth in Aging selects their 5 Favorite Concealers