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  • Writer's pictureLaura Smith

What Do You Want?

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

"The workshop started with a simple question: What do you want? That question was followed shortly with What is your deepest intention?  And then, What do you want to create in your life?  Out then came the magic markers, poster boards, glue sticks, glitter, and all sorts of other art supplies. We were to start drawing, mapping, and fleshing out a future life and future self, complete with the action steps that would lead us to our deepest wants and intentions."  (Psychology Today)

Chatting with my 24-year-old son about an upcoming interview, I asked him what he would say to the inevitable (and cringeworthy) question, 'Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?"

I remember trying to determine how I would answer that question as a 22-year-old recent grad, then again a few times throughout my life. I found myself making up answers because truth be told, I was always one to live and be open to what God had planned for me while taking cues from what life would present. Only in my fifties did I come to the conclusion, with confidence, that having an answer to that question really does us a disservice. It is a limiting belief that we must have a goal for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years down the line. It limits our options and closes us off to those "ah-ha" moments that might allow us to consider another plan.

Let me share with you just a few times that this attitude has allowed doors to open that might not have otherwise.

College: I decided to become an education major since I had no idea what else to do. I also joined the band since I was friends with everyone because of my roommate. I learned how to twirl a flag. Met Jay. End of story.

1998: After having Cam in a mom's day out program at our church, I asked about teaching at the preschool. I then was asked to be the director. I was not at all comfortable with it, but I did it anyway with the confidence I would learn. This led to me being a part of the church staff and making many new friends.

2003: Jay assumed I would say no, but I said "yes" to a year in England for his work. We packed up the kids and lived in a maisonette, up 52 stairs, with an overlook of the Tyne River and the North Sea. Rainbows over the Castel and Priory, new schools, new adventures around Europe that eventually led to my love of travel and becoming a travel coordinator. More on that later.

2010: After subbing, being a Challenge instructor and para, I decided to interview for a full-time position as an ELA teacher at the school where my kids attended. I knew I wasn't ready for full time yet, and I wasn't totally thrilled with the idea of an ELA position. But I went to the interview to meet and talk. Although I wasn't offered that job (because I was honest and said I did not want to work full) I got a call a few weeks alter that they had a half-time social studies position for me. After a few years we had the option to switch schools during a huge revamping of the district. I took that opportunity even when others were afraid of the change. I moved to the school where my daughter attended and made some great new friends. This is where the travel program started and where I also retired early.

2014: After making fun of Jay for riding a bike in spandex, I decided to give it a whirl. Bike MS 70 mile ride, Copper Triangle 75 miles in the mountains, Triathlons, spin classes all have become a regular part of my life which is especially important since I have been told by two orthopedic doctors that I am eligible to have both knees replaced whenever I am ready.

2016: Opened an email that seemed somewhat interesting. Made a call and became a student travel group leader for EF Tours. This eventually led to me leading adult tours.

2017 Without much thought I decided to become a brand rep for Rodan+Fields after realizing I could be selling lash boost to my friends and others that would complement my lashes. Little did I realize that I would love it so much I would make it a priority. The priority helped me to retire early from teaching.

2019 Just before retiring I took a job at a local tutoring center as a manager. I think I was afraid of not having a stable job and I thought it would be fun to be on the managerial/leadership side of things. What I found was that I would much rather be my own boss. I had my own ideas of how best to help kids. My tutoring business was born just before Covid when kids and families need help the most.

"Getting off the five-year-plan highway can feel like getting off the “normal” grid, opting out of the way we do life in this society. But that’s okay. Getting off the striving highway and turning your attention to where you are can lead you to a far better and richer life, which paradoxically, is exactly the kind of life you are supposed to be striving towards." (Psychology Today) 

What have you said, "I never thought I would ever..." to? How did that happen? Was it a part of your plan?

I want to be present for each day and what it has to offer, to keep my eyes and heart open for the next opportunity, and just to be HERE

"The question, What do you want?, while wonderfully helpful in some ways, can become another demand on us, another thing we’re supposed to accomplish, another bar to reach.  We are supposed to have a to-do list for our future and a plan to get there, and if we don’t, we are certain to miss out on that future of our dreams."  (Psychology Today)



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