Most people who know me know that I love the idea of the future. The next. The new. The possibilities. I’m a little bit obsessed with having multiple five year plans – or at least I was until I came on Remote Year.
This year, I haven’t had to plan nearly anything except a few side trips. I’m paying Remote Year to choose where I go, how I get there, where I live, and where I work. My decisions are silly things like where to eat and which desert to get.
Now that we have less than 100 days in this wonderful fantasyland of less decisions (90 days, to be exact), I’m starting to get anxious for the future again. I crave a structure to look forward to. And so do a lot of friends and family – both at home and on my program. “What are you doing in June?” is no longer met with as many groans and eye rolls. Now we have spreadsheets to fill out with our whereabouts and threads and threads of dream trips and far-off meetups.
So, yeah. I’m planning the future again. It’s not set in stone – one thing I’ve learned about these plans is that they are fluid and more of a set of guidelines. But they help me stay focused on things I’ve learned about myself and how I want those learnings to influence my next steps. Here’s a few of them.
Smaller Group Outings
I’ve always been really confused about how my introverted ways intersected with my outgoing personality. I love meeting new people and getting to know their stories, but I get exhausted when I don’t get alone time after those moments. At the beginning of Remote Year, I was all about getting to know these new and potential friends. Now? I’m exhausted. I still love meeting new people. But now, these people I’m with are much less new, which usually means deeper conversations. Which I also enjoy, but I need a lot more time by myself afterwards.
And those big group clubbing things we used to do? I don’t know a single person who truly truly enjoys all aspects of clubs. The sticky floors. The various random sweat/vomit/trash smells. The inability to hear anything or anyone but a thumping bass. The ridiculous prices for drinks. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some great memories in clubs, and I am an expert at singing and dancing along (and looking like an idiot) to almost any song. I’m not saying that they will be cut out of my life completely. But if given the choice, I will easily choose the less-crowded bars and rooftops.
Much Less Weekday Partying
I don’t enjoy waking up late on a work day. I like to get all my work done before the sun sets. So, staying out late on a weekday is hard for me. And by late, I actually mean anything past like 10:30pm… or like 9:30pm. I would say I’m getting old, but I have a lot of older friends who still like staying out late. Let’s be honest, my mom still likes staying out late.
Blame it on an inability to drink caffeine (thanks, weird body illnesses/sensitivities). Blame it on basically being a grandma starting at age 16 (warning: learning to knit leads to grandma-like tendencies). Blame it on a love of comfy beds and blankets. Whatever it is, I’ve learned it about myself.
Cooking at Home
No one in their right mind would call me a good cook. And that’s not being too hard on myself. I can make a few decent dinner-ish meals, some great breakfast potatoes, and a green smoothie. But if given the choice between going out and having me cook for them, literally 99.93% of the people I know would choose going out.
I still love the idea of it all though. I like knowing what is going into my body. I like the calming effect of mixing things. I like seeing all sorts of different things create one awesome thing. And yes, I bought collapsible Tupperware this month and used it twice. And one of those times did contain a pretty gross version of mac and cheese that I ended up throwing away. But I still liked making it. And pretending like I was going to eat it.
Ugh. I miss having a weekly solo volunteering routine. And throwing in some Saturdays and week nights volunteering with my friends. That’s one of the nice things about going to an active church is there was no shortage of options for giving back. Now though? I see so many tourist things on my weekends and work like crazy during the week. Most of the volunteer organizations we’ve partnered with only want volunteers during our weekday work hours. Which is a bummer because I don’t have the ability right now to shift my hours.
I’m still not 100% sure on how to fit this one into my future life, but I know it will be a huge part of it. And if I can’t give back often, then I want to do some volunteer trips. I just need more not-me-focused time in my life.
I miss my kitten. She turns 13 this week. But she wouldn’t do well with travel. She hates change. And she just got used to my parents’ new house – she found the perfect sunbathing spot and essentially never moves. I’m happy for her and I’m so grateful to have parents who have offered to love her while I’m gone.
But I want more animals in my life. I want someone to cuddle with and take care of. And – to be 100% clear – that does not mean I want a human to take care of. I can still barely make sure I’m eating and sleeping enough. So this is another point where I don’t have details figured out, but I know it’s important to my mental well being to have a furry little animal somehow in my life.
I hopped on that hygge train a grand total of 0.05 seconds after hearing the definition. Like, that is a beautiful word for the experiences I want in my life. Bring on the cozy and warmth and friends.
The hardest part for me in the last two months has been the accommodation that Remote Year has provided. They fit the bill, yes, but they feel like temporary places. The walls are white. The art is generic. Thoughtful interior design is non-existent. I want candles. I want books. I want blankets. I want couches to lounge on while watching TV with my girls. I want meals with friends all seated around my table.
The nicest part about AirBnB is the pictures. After Remote Year, I can pick places based on the way they make me feel visually. Yes, they’ll probably cost more. But feeling uncomfortable or not at home is a really big pain point for me. So it’s worth whatever extra effort or cost.
All of this said, I can not currently imagine settling down – maybe truly ever. I want big cities and small towns. I want all the foods. I want languages I can’t understand and struggle to even read. I want stories and celebrations. I want classes and museums.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and family in Minnesota. But living in Minnesota for the rest of my life is not an option right now. I need new. I need change. And I want to experience it while I’m still young, able, and a little daring. And yes, I believe you when you say that this need-for-adventure will wear off. But that gives me even more desire to do it now. I want my life to be full of people and experiences and perspectives. I want my writing to be inspired by more than I could ever write down.
So, no, my five year plan isn’t the best five year plan I ever made. And to be honest, my one year plan is equally as vague. At this point, I have about three weeks past the end of Remote Year planned. It scares me to no end, but equally excites me. And that’s cool with me right now.