When I was a senior in high school, I took a sociology class and one of our projects was to make a presentation of what our lives would look like. We all got poster paper and made a timeline using magazine cutouts of how we pictured our lives. What will our future jobs be? When will we get married? How old will we be when we have our first child? How many children will we have? When will we die?
It was fun, and one of the easiest projects of the year. What senior doesn’t want to plan their lives? So we constructed our timelines, and presented to our class our future lives. We oohed and ahhed over what our classmates would be doing in 10 years, laughed at the inevitable guy who says he won’t get married, but have a harem, and roll our eyes at the girl who says she would be marrying Ben Affleck.
Presentations went on for a week, and on Friday our teacher, one of those teachers everyone loves and can relate to, told us not a single one of us did the project correctly. We were shocked. He’d assigned us with the task of making a timeline of our lives. How was what we did wrong?
Because, he told us, you can’t plan your life. You will have to job that you earn. You will get married when you meet the love of your life. You will have a child when you get pregnant with a child. You will have as many or as little children as you are meant to have. You will die when you expire.
We all have plans for our lives. When I was in high school, I was going to graduate college, join a big PR firm in a big city and work my way up, and get married at 25. We would have our first child at 28, after we’d had time as a married couple to buy our dream home, build our careers, and make sure that we were meant to be. I look back at this and LAUGH.
After I graduated college, I continued to work for the non-profit that I interned for and got married exactly a month later at the age of 22. Three months later I was pregnant and had my first child at 23. Now I am a stay-at-home-mom.
I love my life. It is not as expected, but my God, it’s amazing and messy and beautiful. If I saw this coming for me at 17, I would have been terrified. I would have said there was no way that was me. I might have tried to run. I would have fought it. Maybe that’s why we have the unconscious desire to plan and imagine our futures. It gives us the security we need to live life the way it is supposed to be, live so that our really plan unfolds the way it should and needs to.
When I was in high school, I was taught the most important lesson I could have learned. Live your life. Stop making expectations. The most wonderful things will happen to you once you stop worrying about when and how things need to happen. If there is a single lesson I hope to instill in my son, it is to live your life without fear or worry and let things come your way how they are meant to. There is a plan somewhere for each of our lives, we just haven’t been told what it is.
Linking up with Running With Spoons‘ Thinking Out Loud this week!
When you were in high school, where did you see your life going? Did you follow that path? Let me know in the comments!