Just over 20 years ago I was sitting in my professors living room at a wrap up party for both my nursing education and our women's health course. During the evening she asked us all where we pictured ourselves to be in 20 years. What was our life plan? As I listened to the others and waited my turn I got a feeling that the girl sitting in that room would no longer be around. I couldn't explain it, but I knew that the person I was at that time wouldn't exist. When it got to my turn I wasn't able to articulate what I was feeling, this was really new to me. It was like an aha moment. I didn't have to know now what I was going to want to do and be in 20 years. In a weak response, I informed everyone that I thought the girl before them would be dead. Now, I didn't mean literally, but it shocked many people. I tried to explain, who I am now is just a fraction of who I will be then. Really, the thought of making a plan that went 20 years into the future freaked me out. After all I had only lived 23 years at the time.
The other graduating students all seemed so sure in their life plan, and I hope that it worked out for many of them. For me though, I wanted to be able to take experiences as they arrived and let my life be shaped as I went along. If the me then had made the plan for the me now I would have missed out on so many opportunities. I was told at the time that if you don't have a plan then you will let your life slip by without accomplishing what you desire. I made a plan then and there that I would try to go with the flow. When things presented themselves I would take advantage of the chance. My only real 'plan' was to have no regrets. When faced with a fork in the trail, to pick one and carry on.
It has now been over 20 years and that girl who was perplexed by the idea of a 20 year plan wouldn't even recognize much about herself. Funny thing is, I still remember her and I am grateful that she had the courage to know that there was so much out there. She isn't dead, she is strong and the driving force behind me still taking on new challenges. Although, she'd fall over dead if she heard that she was training to run 100 miles! If I could go back in time and answer that question now I would tell my professor and all my fellow students that my 20 year plan was to live a life where I don't keep a bucket list, instead I live the bucket list all the time.