One of the best parts about being single and twenty-four is not having to make any firm decisions. I can take a job, move, or a do some risky thing on a whim because at the end of the day I’m the only one who’s impacted by that choice. I don’t have to think about anyone else right now.
But could I reasonably say that about three years from now? What about in five years?
When I was seventeen and trying to pick a college to go to, I knew where I’d be in five years. I’d be graduating university and finding a first job/apartment. I knew that. But when you hit your twenties you start to find that less and less of your plans are set in stone.
Two of my good friends were having a conversation about birth control the other day. One is getting an IUD put in and had to decide whether it would be the kind that lasted three years or five. She wasn’t reasonably certain that she wouldn’t want to have kids in the next five years, but only a three year IUD didn’t seem like long enough.* To which my other friend replied that she’d felt the same way when she’d had her’s put in over a year ago.
I was a little stunned to say the least. I didn’t know that either of them had been considering their lives and their relationships with their boyfriends that seriously. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that they were right; there’s no certainty to anything anymore. I just don’t know where I’ll be, even such a short stretch down the road.
Sure, I’m single and sharing a house with three roommates right now. But in five years will I be putting down a deposit on the two bedroom condo I’ve been dreaming about? Will I have gotten my driver’s license yet? Will I be splitting my rent or mortgage with a live-in boyfriend or still kissing frogs on a regular basis? Will I even still be in the same city?
Things that seem so sure about my life right now – where I live, what I do, who I see – aren’t necessarily going to look the same for me in five years, and maybe not even in three. And the more I think about it, the more that weirds me out. I’m not scared, really. I know enough about myself and how far I’ve come in the last five years to know that I’ll probably be ok going forward, that I’ll probably continue to grow in really positive adult-like ways. I’m just not used to not knowing or having some sense of direction. I’ve always had that in the past.
But the fact of the matter is that I have no idea who will come into my life in the next three to five years nor do I have any idea what challenges will be presented to me. All I can hope is that I’ll continue to be ready to make the necessary decisions and meet the challenges head on.
*Note: You can always chose to have an IUD removed early. That wasn’t really the point I was paying attention to in the conversation, but it seemed important to include for the sake of providing complete information here.