Why You Need To Stop Wondering ‘What If’

Life is filled with rewarding moments and hard choices. It is rarely predictable and often when you feel like you are on-track, a curveball can easily have you questioning everything all over again.

Let me put this into context. The reason this post came about was because I was recently asked for an interview ‘where do I see myself in five years?’

The difficulty was that although I have visions of what I think I would like my life to look like in five years, at the same time, I am forever also plagued by the question ‘what if?’

In five years I hope to still be enjoying my job, climbing that corporate ladder, writing and getting some work published, travelling far, and happily married.

However I also have visions alongside this of living the best domestic life I can. Living in a rural cottage, with goats, chickens and dogs to add to our existing furry family. I regularly take time out to bake, cook and create wholesome rustic meals that we share as a two (maybe even three if we have decided to start a family by then). I sit at the old farmhouse kitchen table writing away and pouring my thoughts into a blog, book or something bigger. Oh and my cottage is filled with William Morris patterns, because a girl can dream right?

But then five years away is a long time, and although this imagery of life in my early thirties seems pretty wonderful, it’s then very easy to throw in the dreaded curveball of ‘what if?’

What if I wanted to do all this but in a different country? What if we do get a dog and all these animals, could we then still travel as much? What if we start a family and therefore the writing and career goals need to change? What if my career takes me on a different path?

As soon as I start thinking about this, I can’t help but feeling a little unsettled and worried.

It’s great to have a five-year plan, and to focus on your goals, but life often doesn’t go accordingly to plan.

But then, I look back and think what did I expect to have achieved by my late twenties, five years before now?

If I am being honest, I couldn’t have really predicted the outcome. We are settled in and have bought a house in a city that until four years ago, I had never visited. My job is hugely different to what I thought it would be, in a great way. I have visited countries I didn’t even have on my bucket list, and decided against places I did. Oh, and we have two cats when I always thought I was only going to get dogs.

Part of me definitely thought I would feel by now that I knew what I was doing at all times, a proper ‘adult’. To be honest, I don’t think that this ever feels like the case for anyone. If it does for you, please let me know how to get there!

What has remained fluid however is my longer term priorities, hopes and dreams. I still live minimally, write often, travel as much as possible, spend quality time with my wonderful husband, friends and family and I work hard and enjoy the career path that I chose to follow.

Although life certainly doesn’t look like I predicted five years ago, I am very satisfied with the shape it has taken.

Five Years Ago

Perhaps a lesson here is that as long as whatever you decide to do, as long as it doesn’t detract from your happiness, and contributes to one of your main priorities, it doesn’t matter ‘what if’.

There’s always going to be the unexpected, the curveballs, the ups and downs, but at the end of the day, that’s what makes life a journey rather than a race to have it all at the end.

For now, I am happy to just be a passenger on this journey as long as in five years it delivers me to the destination where I still write, spend time with my family, get to travel, and have a pretty decent career.

Visions are fantastic, but sometimes surprises are all that little more exciting.