This was yesterday’s writing prompt from Plinky Prompts.
I scanned a few of the most recent answers. They were really depressing, mostly about wanting to share their life with someone, get married, have kids, a big house, a good job…the perfect life. The word perfect came up numerous times. There are a lot of lonely people out there. A lot of people whose biggest hope is to not be alone ten years from now. And accumulate things.
My life, ten years from now will most likely be witnessing The Tortoise graduating from college and The Hare from highschool. I will be 47 and DW will be 49. Beyond that, I really have no idea. Each day still seems like such a gift.
It’s hard to think about my future without thinking about some of the past.
Ten years ago I was a struggling, single mom finishing college, living with my parents again. There was just enough money in the bank to pay for day-care and gas for my car. A few hundred dollars were waiting in an envelope for the deposit on my apartment. I lived mostly on an envelope system. I had several envelopes labeled with things like: groceries, car, rent and miscellaneous. Once the money was gone, I had to make due until the next paycheck. Living with my parents was temporary so that I could finally graduate. Retail work had been paying the bills for a while, but as soon as I had my degree in hand, I had a list of places to apply. My hope was to work for Citibank at their huge customer service center. I had worked for them before for several years and managed to do well enough in customer service to experience some hours in the training department. That was where I was headed again. A Monday thru Friday gig, 7:30am to 4pm. Not bad for a single parent. Especially since there was over-time available and tuition reimbursement if I wanted to get a Masters degree. It looked promising too, since I had kept in touch with a couple of my friends who were now in management there.
At that moment of my life, I know I was not thinking ten years ahead. It was enough to just be sure I could make it to the end of the week. There was a brief time that I was yearning for a man – someone to take care of me. Fearful that I couldn’t make it on my own. It wasn’t even about being lonely, it was about not having any confidence in myself. I’m not sure when that changed, but finally I do remember thinking:
“I don’t want to rely on anyone else until I know that I can rely on myself.”
Then my life began, when I quit worrying about the things that I had no control over. The future suddenly had possibilities. Even though customer service, or sales, or corporate training were not what I had gone to school for – it would be okay. It would pay the bills and I could figure it out along the way. My daughter could be proud of her mom for finishing college and getting a job. I could be proud of myself.
Perhaps I am being unrealistic – or maybe I’m not being honest with myself – but I really can’t picture my life ten years from now. I just can’t imagine it being much different from what it is now – and I wouldn’t want it to be. Life is good.
I am not trying to make light of people who are lonely. I understand loneliness. It gnaws at you day after day, no doubt, and it can make us bitter. Loneliness can blind us from good judgement and sabotage sound decisions for ourselves. It tricks us into thinking we don’t deserve things both physically and emotionally. Keeps us locked in a foggy depression if we let it – I don’t know what the answer is to find “The Right One”. Whether it was fate or divine intervention or just plain good luck that DW and I found each other, I don’t know. But when I found him, I wasn’t looking anymore. I was finally okay to just be alone – but not be lonely.
Here is what I do know:
1. My husband is my best friend
2. I love my children more and more every day
3. My close friends love me unconditionally
4. I appreciate everyone in my family and try to have a real relationship with them
5. We have a roof over our head, food on the table, and good health
6. I try to take time out everyday to do something for myself
7. I try to take time out everyday to do something for someone else
Hopefully my life, ten years from now, will look exactly the same.
The Times asked 18 high school seniors about their plans, and only one said he was undecided about his future. Others said they planned or aspired to pursue careers in psychology, medicine, photography and other fields. How about you? What are your goals? When you look into the future, where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
The Times Magazine’s interactive feature “High-School Seniors Predict Their Future” includes photographs of the 18 students who were interviewed, all from Patrick Henry High School in San Diego, along with audio clips of them talking about their goals. One student, Nathan Rebelo, age 17, said this:
When I get older I want to be an architect. I really, like, just designing homes, and my ultimate goal in life is just to be driving somewhere downtown and just be, like — like, show my kids or my family — just be, like: ‘I designed that building, that is me right there. I have my own stamp on life.’ Next year I’m hoping to go to U.S.C., so my fingers are crossed to get accepted. If I don’t get into U.S.C., I’m kind of just hoping for a school out of San Diego – really kind of just want to spread my wings, kind of. I don’t want to say I want to get away from my family, but I really just want to get on my own and discover who I am and be able to kind of be who I want to be without worrying about who’s going to say this or, just, the judgment of high school.
Students: Tell us about your personal goals. When you look 10 years ahead, where do you see yourself? What do you want to be doing with your career and life, and why? What are your dreams and aspirations in addition to specific goals? If you’re undecided, why do you think that is?
Questions about issues in the news for students 13 and older.