the ten-year plan

I dated my husband for five months. Then there was a diamond, and once there was a diamond, we made a plan.

It was a ten-year plan, and it began in 2009 and was supposed to conclude in 2019. We ended up arriving at its conclusion a year early, in 2018. So, we started another, and we are now in the midst of it.

We didn’t tell many people what our first ten-year plan was all about — we were still waiting to see if we would actually keep those promises to ourselves. But when it became time to make a second one, it had us so excited. Not because of all we were going to “get done”, but because of the peace and rest that comes with knowing where we are on the map.

When I stopped and thought about it, I’d been making five-year or ten-year plans all my life, and had executed each one roughly on time. (The one dalliance is I got married at age 20 instead of 17…hey, there were no dudes who fit the perimeters, so I had to adjust there.) Permanence is almost a bad word, nowadays, but if you want to get something done corporately, you have to have a massive plan in order to account for all the variables which will come up. How much more so when it is the very important tapestry of our own lives? Also (and this is the tricky part), you must have the flexibility to roll with those variables, which means you have to have core goals, and those core goals have to do with you only (cannot be effected by those outside of the plan).

The core is the real genius of the ten-year plan. I have met one other person who wrote out her plans in decades (a 12-year-plan, in her case), and she too grasps this piece of the life puzzle. You don’t have to know what will hit you in the heart or the chest or the lung, but you do have to know:

  1. where you are starting
  2. what ground must be covered
  3. where you will end up

This is my postmodern American way of saying you are Bilbo and you have to find a dragon, and you have to know for certain which mountain and which dragon, else you won’t be able to handle the trolls at all. You’ll think, hey, maybe the dragon in the story is actually trolls and this is where it ends! Nope. It doesn’t end there, because you know which ground you must cover. And it doesn’t start on that ground, because you know where you were when all this began (Bag End) and there’s quite a lot of road on this map because you have a map.

We have to live our own stories with their epic-ness in mind.

That’s it, that’s all I have to say about it. (For now. Until I expand this into a series about variables. Ha ha. But really.) Call it an exercise, if you like, but try a ten-year plan. There’s a lot of freedom in having a map.