Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Most Hated Question

I'm working on the first assignment in my first graduate class. One of the questions, I am not kidding you, is "Where do you see yourself five years from now?" I hate this question. The person who invented it should be made to die a slow and painful death.

I don't even know what this means. And why five years? Why is five the magic number? Is that when goals are supposed to be suddenly realized? Why not two years? 3.5? And where do I see myself? Sheesh, I hardly know what I'm doing six months from now, let alone five years. The plans I made last week for this week have already changed. Life isn't static, there's no guarantee that my five-year plan will pan out. If I had one. Hell, five years ago I didn't imagine I'd be in the situation I am now. And five years before that? Nothing has ever turned out the way I thought or hoped.

You know what else? This question just makes me feel like a failure before I even start. Because I don't have a five-year plan, I feel like there's something wrong with me. The fact that it's even asked implies that there are people out there who have their shit together with five-year plans followed by ten and fifteen and twenty-year plans. I hate those people. I won't be friends with them. If you are one of those people, don't introduce yourself to me. I will shun you. Openly.

Here are the only things I know for sure. I will have more gray hair. The bastards are multiplying as I speak. I'll have a dog because I can't and don't want to live without one. My kid will be in college. At least she better be. I will still love food. I will still be trying to lose weight. I will still wish I had more money and hate paying bills. My moisturizer will be my best friend.

I don't think this is exactly what the instructor is looking for, however. I also don't think she wants me to fantasize about winning the lottery and quitting whatever job I have to travel the world. Or how my dream is to have a huge kitchen with a double oven, a sub-zero refrigerator and a pizza oven. Or that I wonder if I'll still be single or get cancer. It's more entertaining and much more interesting to me, but not very academic.

This is definitely going to take some creative writing. Lying. Finessing. Wish me luck.


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