Planning for the future is always in the conversation when my wife and I visit her home town. She loves it here, and to her it is like a dream to have our family here doing “family things”. In addition, her family asks about our plans when we are back from Hong Kong.
Although I have had a wonderful life thus far, with travels all over the world, interesting life experiences, fascinating careers, and so on, I am person who has struggled all my adult life with making plans -> trying to follow them -> watching them get interrupted -> making new plans. I have learned that it is best to make light plans, but to be flexible.
But if you do this, how do you set goals and stay focused on achieving what you wish to achieve? That is the question. It would be easy to become a bit nihilistic and say, “oh, what does it matter, the plans will change anyway!” But the thing is, you still need some kind of direction to walk towards; some kind of vision. Even if the vision ends up being a mirage, it is still important to have it. The dangerous part comes when you hold the vision without any flexibility, while the world changes and evolves – but you do not.
Many people say that a major key to success in our lives is to have a plan and work towards it. To make that thing yours in your head – to basically live as if you already have that thing, and let everything come together. The Secret, a very popular book from about 10 years ago was big into this “visualize and let it be yours” mentality. I can agree with it, but without the materialism (many people would visualize a car they wanted, or a house, and use the philosophy in that way). It should be applied to much bigger and more important things, in my opinion. If I want to have a happy family life and a good relationship with my wife, the first step is to believe I have it, and be stubborn about doing the things that will lead to happiness – letting go of my ego, thinking of her first, and so on. And if it is a priority to me, it will not bother me if it involves sacrifice.
So, back to planning for the future. Who knows when we will be back? We have planned on 1 year of pappa leave for me, but maybe it will turn into 2, or even more (in sweden you can take 8 years parental leave and still keep your job. You won’t get paid for that whole time, but you can still take the leave). So, for us, it is all about communication while we keep a bigger plan in mind but with an open mind, while checking along the way to see what the twists and turns in our path will mean for us.
Life is weird, with all sorts of opportunities that come up along the way if you pay attention. If anything in life, I have learned that if you are open, you will see new and interesting opportunities pop up, that will take you in a direction you did not anticipate or could not have dreamed of. Then, once you go down that path, your life is enriched in new and fascinating ways, which all make your life more interesting.