“Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” It’s a common interview question. We’ve all faced it a few times in our careers, and although we’ve given elaborate answers I’ll wager that many of us haven’t really thought about the question too much. We don’t pay it much attention, but it’s a question that lingers with us for the better part of our adolescence. I don’t exactly remember when, but I do recall some teacher asking the most rudimentary form of the question early on in my educational journey. I think it it was more along the lines of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” – and despite answering in crayon I vaguely remember giving a pretty in-depth answer. I had a plan – had being the operative word there.
We’re all asked a similar question at some point and from that moment on we can’t stop thinking about the future. We play out several scenarios, we fantasize about our future selves, and we aspire toward what could possibly be. Some people plan it out and follow it to a T. I’m not some people.
Oh to be 17 again. Life was full of so much promise, so much potential, so much awesomeness. Then, in the blink of an eye you’re 31 and writing a drunken blog post at 10:45 on a Tuesday night. What the hell happened? You had all these plans, all these ideals, this perfect vision of your future. It’s right there, nicely drawn out in crayon – and yet somehow you royally fucked it up. So now what?
You have no idea what you actually want, but you just know that this isn’t it. Happiness is a dream. It’s out there somewhere, but the dragon remains just out of reach.
You push forward – wearing your pain, drinking your confusion, until it consumes you. You keep going though, driven by a belief that the unknown has to be better than this. Eventually it dawns on you: there is no destination. The road goes on forever but the party eventually ends.
Where do we go from there? Some of us find comfort in our jobs. We lie to ourselves about it. “If I just get promoted, or if I can finally make $x/year – THEN I’ll be happy. You bust your ass, you best all the challenges thrown your way, you make it to the end and you cheer – but your princess is in a different castle. The goal changes, the journey continues, wash rinse repeat.
“go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, be a loving parent, educate your kids, ask them to study well and get a job and get married….” The cycle never ends, the thirst is never quenched, the road goes on forever, the dragon is still out of reach and there’s another castle with another princess to save.
It’s not what you planned. In fact, you’re not sure what it is. You’d think of something better if you could, but you can’t.
So now what?