As a recent graduate (and even in the months before, there was one question that many people wanted me to answer: So, what are your plans? Or the other variation: So, what are you going to do now? Or there is also this one: So, what’s next?
I don’t know about anyone else, but for me those questions act like an unintentional stranglehold. It’s as though having completed full-time studies for the past 3+ years while trying to work and dealing with my chronic illness wasn’t enough. It’s as though stopping to take in life for moment is unacceptable. We must know what were going to do next, achieve next, be next.
Well, heck, what about just being able to be where we are right now? How about just being who we are right now? Celebrating that and nothing else. I know it’s not the fault of those who have asked the question. Many of us are trained to think in this manner, i.e. we are only as good as our next potential achievement.
In my opinion, these types of questions can cause anyone in transition to take on that deer caught in headlights look. Seriously.
Surely enough, there are many who already have answer, who are ready for the question because they’ve had enough training to know that they “should” have a plan for the next step. There’s nothing wrong with that. Actually, kudos to them for having a plan.
For me, what I’ve learned over the past several years is that planning (and over-planning) about the future is sometimes not the answer. Yes, have plans, have goals, have ideas about the future. However, stand still for a moment and be with the present.
Living in the now, without focusing on what is come next, can be very useful. It can help you to appreciate where you have been, who you have become, why you are, how you came to be. No, I’m not trying to get existential on you. It’s just the reality that we really ought to take a time out just for ourselves.
Have the courage to say “I don’t know.” when asked about the future, even if you do have plans; or use my personal favourite: I’m not there yet, but once I am, I’ll let you know.