I’m Burning the 5 Year Plan


It’s official… I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Absolutely no idea.

I don’t know what I want to do having survived a small liberal arts school with my degree in my back pocket… an odd degree that is… try Psychology major with minors in both Education and Studio Art. Yeahhh… I didn’t ever really have an idea of what I wanted to do, hence the random combo and a fifth year of school. I didn’t even declare my major until fall term of my senior year, and believe me, the phrase ‘declare your major’ still gives me anxiety.

Since graduating this past June I have had countless people ask me what my plans are now that I’m “in the real world.” It depends on who is asking, but I usually say something along the lines of, “not quite sure yet, but hopefully something with kids.” BLAHHHH so boring Amber, what is wrong with you, you are 23 for goodness’ sake. You have no plans and your loans kick in in January, why aren’t you actively looking for a job in your field? Why aren’t you networking? Why are you fulfilling the millennial stereotype by lacking work ethic and drive? Why do you work as a menial server and tend bar now that you have graduated? Why do you still live with your parents? Why don’t you have a boyfriend? When are you going to get one?

The list goes on. And that list can make a generally confident young woman feel not so confident when asked repeatedly and in a condescending manner.

However, as I sit here at a local coffee shop eating my half-soup-half-salad lunch before I have to go to the restaurant at 4, I have come to the conclusion that the fact that I have no idea what I want to do in this life is fine.

Yes, FINE. Totally 100% okay.

At the moment I am happy living the server lifestyle. I am also happy knowing that I can do whatever the hell I want right now.

Nothing major is holding me back, and I have the world at my fingertips along with a degree under my belt, some money saved up, and a free spirit that’s longing for adventure.

That being said, I can officially say that I have decided to burn the five year plan. I don’t even like the word “plan.” I don’t have plans; I have goals. One eventual goal is to meet the right (not perfect) man and spend the rest of my life with him ***cliché, sorry!*** I’d like to have a low-key wedding and perhaps have children together. However, over the past year I have been contemplating if I even want kids anymore. If I do have kids I’d like to be able to stay at home with them or work part time while raising them with the help of my marvelous mother. It would be pretty cool if my kids could grow up with my best friends’ kids too, I guess.

I’d like to be more confident in my faith, maintain my health, and travel as much as possible. When will those things happen? Will they happen??

Who freakin knows! And that is such a liberating feeling!

Since I believe that life is more about the journey rather than the destination I have decided to set the five year plan up in flames.

I have done this by accepting a position as an au pair in Australia. Say whaaaaat, Australia?! Yes, Australia. I will post more about the position and the logistics of this adventure in future posts, but just know that I am so freakin excited!!!

Of course there are the inevitable questions that I have received since telling people about my plans for Down Under. Questions like “Aren’t you going to be losing money?” or “You went to Lawrence University to be a nanny?” or “Why aren’t you doing something that looks better on your resume?” or “Aren’t you scared?” and even “What about getting married and settling down?”

These questions seriously make me cringe. And attempting to craft a response that is satisfactory to the snobby country club members that I work for was definitely a challenge at first. However, do these people honestly think I haven’t asked myself these same dang questions?! To put it shortly, the pros outweigh the cons. And regarding the whole marriage thing… hold the phone people, am I 23 or 33?? I have seen my mom and countless other adults live unhappy lives as a result of getting married perhaps too early or simply marrying the wrong person, so EXCUSE ME if I’m not jumpin’ on the marriage band wagon like so many others my age. BYEEEE.

I prefer independence right now, so don’t make me feel bad for wanting that as a twenty-something living in the midst of hookup culture.

Also, don’t make me feel as if I’m not capable of getting a job right now where I could happily work with kids for a decent wage and save up enough money to move out on my own. I am perfectly capable of doing exactly that, however doing so would bring me a very low level of satisfaction. I have the rest of my life to work 9 to 5 if I really want to, so in my mind, finding such a job would be settling, and I have no desire to do so.

As for the take-home message here…Don’t try to have it all figured out.

If you take anything away from reading this, I hope that it makes you look at life in your twenties differently; stop thinking of these years as a competition as to who has the shit together the most by the time we hit 30. Rather, start enjoying these crazy, confusing years that have the potential to teach us so much about ourselves and our world.

I won’t discover these experiences unless I take this leap. So that’s exactly what I’m doing.