Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I wonder what it's like to have a plan for life? I know stuff happens you can't or never would plan on, but it seems like most happy and successful people have at least some kind of plan for where they want to go in life and how to get there. I don't, unless you define "plan" so broadly it becomes pointless, and I wonder if I'm missing out on something or I'm going to because of this.

Despite how that might sound, this is not me depressed. At worst, it's maudlin or maybe a little afraid of change. Life is good these days. I'm getting along with everyone, spring is here, work is boring and maybe a little worrying but that's the worst of it, things are going great with my girlfriend, and other than my taxes, the biggest problem I have faced for the past month might be trying to fit both World of Warcraft and Magic: the Gathering into my schedule.

But I'm getting ready to make some changes, and I'm wondering how that compares to where I'm "supposed" to be by now or when I was "supposed" to be making those changes, and realizing that I have no idea. (And to the extent that I do have an idea, it's close enough that the difference isn't worth worrying about. But the fact that I have to think about it is.)

Should I have one? My plan from around 2002 until mid-2008 was journalism or writing in general. Make a living by being creative with a desk job, meet lots of people, become a little famous, maybe slightly make the world a better place by exposing corruption or elucidating some thorny political problem or just entertaining people with my wit. I pursued it. After two years as a reporter, I decided that I had spent enough time for a while living in tiny towns, and would take the plunge and move to a city. I did. Since I moved to the city, though, that plan has stalled. In theory I could look for another job that stretches my creative muscles while still where I am, but it's just too easy not to. And you might notice how much was missing from it from the start. Salary? House? Kids? Wife? Hell, what kind of writing exactly? Who knows?

So I'm kind of drifting at the moment. When I had been out of college for a year or two I'd say to friends or a therapist something like, "I'm happy with my life as it is today, but if I'm still here in five years I really won't be happy at all." Well, I'm happy with my life as it is today, and I'm happy with where it seems to be going over the next few months, but I have no idea where it's going from there or where it "should" be going.

(Although I suppose now that I've written down the second paragraph of this, it demonstrates that maybe I'm getting by just fine without a plan...)

It's a little bit like this.

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