My life plan was pretty generic: get married by thirty, have some kids, secure a good job, buy a house, avoid violently murdering someone in the supermarket just because they skipped the queue…you know, standard stuff. Somewhere along the way, the plan went to s**t. I woke up one morning, at the ripe old age of twenty nine and realised I had done none of those things.
I know what you’re thinking: what kind of uptight loser has a life plan? So, okay, firstly, it wasn’t exactly a plan. More of a… life map. Wait, wait… that’s worse, isn’t it? Basically, I just had some things that I wanted to have achieved or realised before I hit a certain age. It wasn’t like I made exact goals to be achieved by exact dates…I’m not that obsessive *nervous laugh*
I felt that being married with maybe at least one kid and having some kind of steady income by the age of thirty seemed to be a realistic enough goal, right? I imagine a conversation with seventeen year old Jane to be a little something like this:
Seventeen Year Old Jane: Woah, it’s me!
Current Jane: Yes, yes, you decide to ditch the bleach bottle and thick eyebrows are a thing now, soooo…
Seventeen Year Old Jane: Hey, I’m making it work. If it’s good enough for Gwen Stefani…anyway, how am I?
Current Jane: You know, cool. Yeah, pretty cool.
Seventeen Year Old Jane: So I’m married then? To Jack right? He’s sooo dreamy.
Current Jane: Erm, no. No, you’re not. You’re engaged though. And he’s dreamy alright…but he does this thing with his nose when he’s sleeping and I swear to GOD itmakesmewannapunchhimsoharrrrd.
Seventeen Year Old Jane: Eh…not married. Okay…okay…but, you’re… you’re pregnant right?
Current Jane: Eh, no. That’s last night’s takeaway pizza but thanks for reminding me I’m not a size 8 anymore. Nope. No kid. Nada. Notta one.
Seventeen Year Old Jane: Okay…okay…that’s not so bad… you own a house though? A house? Right?
Current Jane: Well, I don’t own it in so much as I…rent…it. So yeah, I rent. Still. But you know, it’s cool. I can totally do what I want with the place. I have a pretty bitchin’ collection of owl ornaments and seashells. You like seashells, right?
Seventeen Year Old Jane: Uh huh. Seashells. Right. Erm, so a job? You…have…a job?
Current Jane: Oh yeah, totally, yeah. I’m a teacher.
Seventeen Year Old Jane: Wow! Really? That’s great. Okay that’s really reassuring. Okay. So you have a permanent teaching job. Woah, for a second there I was kinda freaking out.
Current Jane: Well, you know, permanent in the sense that my contract ends in like…four weeks. Permanent like a bottle of hair dye, amiright? Hello? Past Jane?
Seventeen Year Old Jane: *hyoerventilating into a brown paper bag*
So yeah, past Jane probably wouldn’t be too impressed with a snapshot of current Jane’s life. On paper, I guess it looks like I haven’t got much going on. The thing is, Seventeen Year Old Jane didn’t know much about life, and also believed that thirty was, like, really old. She also had very dodgy hair extensions, so I really wouldn’t listen to her anyway.
I had assumed that I would have life all figured out by now. I also assumed that I would just magically become incredibly wise and responsible , like this guy
I never really gave any consideration to the fact that I would actually be the same goddamn person. You know, the person who’s sometimes lazy, sucks at long term planning and likes kids but also likes butternut squash…it doesn’t mean I want to commit to eating it everyday for the next eighteen years. I wasn’t going to suddenly transform into a kale-eating, stepford wife supermom.
Right now, I am a little directionless. I’ll get married in the next few years. Maybe I’ll even have kids. I’ll probably get a proper contract in a more secure job too. Or, I’ll join the circus, grow a beard and kiss sexually-confused men for five bucks a pop. Whatever happens, I don’t need to obsess over it. Life has a habit of happening even when you’re not thinking about it.
That’s my wish going into my thirties: (notice my avoidance of the word plan…*aggressive cat hiss*) I won’t necessarily plan. I won’t set unrealistic goals. Then, if I don’t achieve them, I won’t feel like flagellating myself with a spiky whip. My goals will probably be a little more shorterm like “get through at least one episode of Supervet without sobbing uncontrollably” or “maybe don’t secretly eat 95% of Jack’s dinner when he goes to the bathroom”. Obviously, big decisions do take some level of planning. But I think the key thing is is to stop setting the bar so high. I can f**k up. I can make stupid mistakes. I can get married in some cramped registry office and it won’t matter because I’ll get to share my life with someone very special. And you know what, if I’m thirty nine and my life is similar to the way it is now (well, minus the anxiety) I’ll be pretty happy. If it’s completely different, well I’ll probably be pretty happy too. The important thing is, I don’t know. I can’t know. And that’s okay.