“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
It’s a common question, a fair question. It is a question I have thought about personally and projected upon others. Tell me about your five year plan.
Yesterday, I found myself donning my sweet husband’s crocs (camo crocs at that…), driving a tractor that six months ago I almost ran through our house because I didn’t know how to use the clutch, and ending up covered in mud pulling a four wheeler out of a water hole because our three darlings are learning to be quite the typical boy combo. All of this in the middle of the woods on a back road in Texas.
Now listen, if you had told me five years ago that I would end up here five years down the line, I likely would have laughed in your face and asked for a refund. (Except for that four wheeler part, that actually seems pretty expected because… #whengodgivesyouboys.) My perfectly curated life plan did not include lots of things that I now consider common place in my life. Does that mean I am unhappy? Heck no! It means that life has a funny way of taking you on a journey that might be a little unexpected.
For nearly a decade, I stood at the front of a classroom and taught this poem by Robert Frost. I used its meaning as a reminder toward moral goodness. Sort of a “if everyone jumps off the bridge, will you jump too?” approach. Take the high road. Make your own path. Don’t follow the crowd.
And now, years later, I have often considered that same poem—that same line—with a completely different perspective.
Sometimes in life, we have to take the unexpected road. We might find ourselves at the fork in the road and staring down two paths. Like any reasonable person, we look down each and try to see as far as we can see. We imagine what bends might come in the road. We might consider the terrain and weigh the ease of each. Society, our parents, our friends, our brain… they might all tell us to take the safer route. To take the path beaten down and predictable. We stare down the two lanes as far as we can see. And then, there comes a time where we have to choose the direction we will go.
Our direction leads to our destination, but it’s not our definitive destiny.
If there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that we must embrace the journey. When I was younger and starry eyed, I thought I would reach my destination by the ripe old age of 26. Cute, right? I have learned that the destination is often elusive, where I am currently doesn’t mean it’s my forever destiny. Propelling myself in the best direction is what is most important. I may never “arrive.” If you aren’t growing, you’re dying… and I’ve still got lots of growing left to do.
Diane von Furstenberg, one of the greatest fashion icons of all times, said this: “I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be.” I feel that in my soul, Diane. I feel it deep down in my soul.
Five year plans can be laughable at best. It’s impossible to know where life might take us. Sure, we can plan for what we hope will happen, but there are circumstances around every bend that we may have never considered. And we might miss the beauty intended for us if we are only willing to take the safe path. We may miss the destination if we are so focused on our own picture perfect plans that we refuse to consider that God sees the picture perfectly.
And so, we grab those camo crocs, hop up on the tractor, and embrace the journey. Because this—this is right where we are meant to be…