Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Future Self: The big picture doesn't need to be scary

This blog is part of a series of posts that chronicle my participation in Reverb 10. Reverb 10 is an online event that encourages its participants to reflect on the past year and gear up for what's to come in the next. A prompt is given each day to fuel some personal reflection. Although I'm a little late on starting the challenge, I'm still looking forward to 18 days of honesty, acceptance, and growth.

December 21 – Future Self.

Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)  (Author: Jenny Blake)

Who do I want to be? What do I want from life? Where do I see myself in 5-10 years? I try to avoid these "big picture" type of questions. I'm all about thinking and planning in baby steps as I find thinking further down the road stresses me out. I tend to focus on insignificant details, so when planning something big for the future, the amount of details that will haunt me is incalculable. On top of that, the expectations that come with making these long-term plans are overwhelming. My thinking seems to be that if I don't meet these long-term goals, I will be a failure.

Wow. Failure. I want to shake myself right now. "Really, Kait? You think that if you don't follow through with long-term plans in the exact manner you initially set down, you will have failed?" This black-and-white thinking is doing nothing but preventing me from ever making big plans for my future. I can't live my life afraid of what could go wrong or how I could disappoint someone. It's almost as if I see making long-term plans as something I do for others and not for myself. Instead of setting goals for myself, I'm mapping out my life to my parents, loved ones, and mentors so they know what they can expect from me. Often, I think maybe I feel pressure to make plans that appease these people, plans that will make them stop asking questions.

Maybe it's time that I change my perception of a long-term goal. A long-term goal needs to be something that I set for myself, something that will benefit ME. Instead of saying that in five years, I hope to be married or a mother or have this job and live in this house, I want to set a goal that has more to do with healing and developing a better sense of myself. In five years, I hope to be a woman who can see the big picture without crumbling or falling apart.

In order to do this, it is imperative that I stop being overly concerned with others' perceptions of my choices. I must remember that when I'm making plans for myself rather than others, the only person who can produce stress is me. I am the one in control and I think that my Future Self would be proud of this attitude, regardless of what tangible accomplishments she may have.


  1. Thanks for sharing that! I've always been a long term thinker and so it's always interesting to get a little bit into the head of someone who's not. It doesn't bother me at all (well, not much) that many of the things I think will eventually happen, don't. I just enjoy having some sort of expectation to fill my idle thoughts. I'm a bit more conservative with closer goals, but five years from now? I'm happy to dream large. :)

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