My Life, Ten Years From Now

This was yesterday’s writing prompt from Plinky Prompts.

I scanned a few of the most recent answers. They were really depressing, mostly about wanting to share their life with someone, get married, have kids, a big house, a good job…the perfect life. The word perfect came up numerous times. There are a lot of lonely people out there. A lot of people whose biggest hope is to not be alone ten years from now. And accumulate things.

My life, ten years from now will most likely be witnessing The Tortoise graduating from college and The Hare from highschool. I will be 47 and DW will be 49. Beyond that, I really have no idea. Each day still seems like such a gift.

It’s hard to think about my future without thinking about some of the past.

Ten years ago I was a struggling, single mom finishing college, living with my parents again. There was just enough money in the bank to pay for day-care and gas for my car. A few hundred dollars were waiting in an envelope for the deposit on my apartment. I lived mostly on an envelope system. I had several envelopes labeled with things like: groceries, car, rent and miscellaneous. Once the money was gone, I had to make due until the next paycheck. Living with my parents was temporary so that I could finally graduate. Retail work had been paying the bills for a while, but as soon as I had my degree in hand, I had a list of places to apply. My hope was to work for Citibank at their huge customer service center. I had worked for them before for several years and managed to do well enough in customer service to experience some hours in the training department. That was where I was headed again. A Monday thru Friday gig, 7:30am to 4pm. Not bad for a single parent. Especially since there was over-time available and tuition reimbursement if I wanted to get a Masters degree. It looked promising too, since I had kept in touch with a couple of my friends who were now in management there.

At that moment of my life, I know I was not thinking ten years ahead. It was enough to just be sure I could make it to the end of the week. There was a brief time that I was yearning for a man – someone to take care of me. Fearful that I couldn’t make it on my own. It wasn’t even about being lonely, it was about not having any confidence in myself. I’m not sure when that changed, but finally I do remember thinking:

“I don’t want to rely on anyone else until I know that I can rely on myself.”

Then my life began, when I quit worrying about the things that I had no control over. The future suddenly had possibilities. Even though customer service, or sales, or corporate training were not what I had gone to school for – it would be okay. It would pay the bills and I could figure it out along the way. My daughter could be proud of her mom for finishing college and getting a job. I could be proud of myself.

Perhaps I am being unrealistic – or maybe I’m not being honest with myself – but I really can’t picture my life ten years from now. I just can’t imagine it being much different from what it is now – and I wouldn’t want it to be. Life is good.

I am not trying to make light of people who are lonely. I understand loneliness. It gnaws at you day after day, no doubt, and it can make us bitter. Loneliness can blind us from good judgement and sabotage sound decisions for ourselves. It tricks us into thinking we don’t deserve things both physically and emotionally. Keeps us locked in a foggy depression if we let it – I don’t know what the answer is to find “The Right One”. Whether it was fate or divine intervention or just plain good luck that DW and I found each other, I don’t know. But when I found him, I wasn’t looking anymore. I was finally okay to just be alone – but not be lonely.

Here is what I do know:

1. My husband is my best friend
2. I love my children more and more every day
3. My close friends love me unconditionally
4. I appreciate everyone in my family and try to have a real relationship with them
5. We have a roof over our head, food on the table, and good health
6. I try to take time out everyday to do something for myself
7. I try to take time out everyday to do something for someone else

Hopefully my life, ten years from now, will look exactly the same.

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About My Pajama Days

I am Emily Okaty Wilson, freelance writer, blogger and public speaker. It sounds better than saying I stay in my pajamas all day eating salt and vinegar chips. I claim to be a wife, a mother, a homeschool teacher and a musician. Sometimes I'm funny.
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88 Responses to My Life, Ten Years From Now

  1. Caitlin says:

    aw super sweet!! i hope your life 10 years from now is the same too!! :)

  2. leahgudes says:

    because of this story, i realize that i am not alone. God gives us challenges for us to be strong as a person. i am a married student teacher and 5 months from now i will be graduated.i have 1 son and his 8 months old now. thank you for sharing your story and to tell you we have the same situation..God bless u..

  3. pianissimo says:

    I really like this post, very deep thought and such wonderful details. I’m “green” in the U.S and that means I have to face many difficult to start a new life again.
    ” Then my life began, when I quit worrying about the things that I had no control over. The future suddenly had possibilities.” When I read these words, I felt that I have found the way to continue my struggle life. Thanks for sharing your blog.

  4. CJ says:

    “Then my life began, when I quit worrying about the things that I had no control over. The future suddenly had possibilities.” I love this!

    Your writing is so beautiful! I rarely get attached to “Mom Blogs” (I’m a nanny, so I read a few to learn more about childcare issues, etc.) but yours is really something unique- I love this post, as well as “You can’t take this too personally.” and “A Writer’s Love Letter”. I think people of all ages, in every career path (from moms to ibankers) can really identify with getting lost in the daily grind- losing confidence that what you do really matters; I love the way you address that. Anyways, I’m looking forward to keeping up with your work (even despite being 24 yrs old and not a mom myself).

  5. Really good thoughts you have given me.
    It works well to live happily.

  6. You are such a positive woman! I enjoyed your blog. And your write very well :)
    -Alessandra

    • pajamadays says:

      I just read your blog – it ROCKS! Thank you so much for “stopping” by. I can’t wait to get to know your work better. (Just added you to the blogroll)

  7. I always tend to ponder a smidge harder about all sorts of things soon after I browse over someone new’s site and their insights. There are actually some fantastic “brain food” sites around the net and I feel like I just now had a good sized helping here browsing your blog. Oddly enough, Yahoo led me to your site when I was working on fitness and health and wellbeing related research. Had a breeze reading through your articles and I will be adding you to my bookmarks to keep track in the future. Enjoy the week.

  8. Hi! I discovered your web page when i was on Yahoo searching for a few recent Twitter trends to find out what has been popular recently. Stayed around a lttle bit to take a look around and read a few of your articles… impressive stuff. I will make sure that I get around once again some time in the next month or two. Go Portugal!! World Cup 2010!

  9. The Weddington Adventures says:

    interesting! great stuff. keep in touch:)

  10. waw..
    i want to write my life too..

  11. watch movies says:

    “My husband is my best friend”
    Doesn’t happen alot

  12. I like that you are content with your life, taking it as it comes and appreciating what you have. I think that is a key attitude to make life happier, less lonely, and to make the next 10 years as good as the last 10 were. Thank you for sharing your hopeful outlook– I think more people would benefit from thinking the way you do!

  13. just one word for you…..WOW!

  14. ctantia says:

    you are an optimistic indeed..and world does need more people like you are…but not all people as lucky as you are…

    i hope in ten years..many people who are unlucky now will be as lucky as you are now…..
    Have a love, have a friends, have a shelter, have a life….

  15. markdeldegan says:

    Great outlook! – It was really nice reading your article. Thanks. Enjoy your life!

  16. BryanPumper says:

    I got teary eyes just by reading your post. I can fully relate on this matter. My wife and I got married at a young age, so we work together as a team. We have a new born daughter – about 2 weeks old, and she’s our source of strength. I never think of what would our lives be ten years from now, call me no ambition but that’s just me. I believe in the eternal now, if you give love, make it this moment. Life’s too short to be lonely!

    More power to you! God Bless!

    • pajamadays says:

      Congratulations to you and your wife for making it work! Being married young is never easy – especially when we get older! Enjoy every moment you can with your daughter.

  17. sarahnsh says:

    I love this post because I wish that I could respond this way when I’ve been asked this question in interviews. I would stop, pause, and try to think of the best lie that they would like to hear. I knew they wanted to hear big things, like me going back to college, getting married, having kids, ect. But, the truth is, I’m happy with my life being as it is right now. Maybe my career will change if I end up injuring myself with my job, maybe not, but I can’t see that far ahead and prefer not to. I’m a day-by-day person, and that’s how I live it, so I appreciate your post.

  18. niconica says:

    “Hopefully my life, ten years from now, will look exactly the same.”

    This is amazing. Good on you. :) Best wishes!

    Cheers, Niconica

    http://niconica.wordpress.com

  19. rohitmaiya says:

    Wow, Nice interesting post.

    I wish you the best of the next ten years atleast.

  20. Lou says:

    I love this post. I like how you approached the prompt at a different angle. Being only 17 going on 18 it is hard to see myself ten years from now. I have no idea what I want to do and I have my whole life ahead of me. I really admire how you are thankful for and appreciate what you have now and you are satisfied with the way your life has panned out. That’s inspiring. Keep up the good work.

  21. It’s a rare thing to see a person that doesn’t first look at the negative. =)

    • pajamadays says:

      Thank you – I appreciate that you see that in my words. There have been a couple of comments that were not so positive and I am trying to have a thick skin about them…it is far easier to look at the negative than the positive sometimes. However, it is usually the harder choices in life that are the right ones.

  22. Cody Bowles says:

    This easily relates to many people and I agree the end does hit home. This is the best post I’ve read thus far on WordPress and I do hope you’re next ten years are perfect :)

  23. Laura Gordon says:

    Thanks for inspiring us to live and breathe in this moment and enjoy it for what it is, rather than what it could or should be. We’re so often caught up in defining who we should be rather than allowing ourselves to live each and every day as we are. Reflecting on our past very often reveals this truth to us, for how many of us are exactly where or who we thought we would be when we thought of our future ten years ago? Living in a past that is behind us can stunt our growth. Living in a future that has yet to be made can limit our possibilities. Perhaps if we live a bit more in the now, loving ourselves for who we are, we will finally find the company for which we have searched for so long and fully realize, as you did, that being alone does not have to equal being lonely…

    http://victimvictorious.wordpress.com/

  24. eatingalone says:

    Thank you for being a mother. My brother and I grew up with a single mom. I had no clue what a tough job that is. The single greatest gift I have in my life is that my mother stood through thick and thin for us when it would have been a lot easier to fall down on the job.

    • pajamadays says:

      I applaud your mom – and you for recognizing her strength. I am humbled many days when I see the years of courage and perseverance single moms (and dads) go through day in and day out. My experience was short lived – just a few years – but taught me a lot about myself.

  25. Danielle says:

    As a single mom who is “alone” but not “lonely” I really appreciated this post Emily. I am thrilled for the happiness and satisfaction you found in life once you were happy and satisfied with YOU. LOVE this -
    6. I try to take time out everyday to do something for myself.
    7. I try to take time out everyday to do something for someone else.

  26. erhu says:

    great post! i like the first thing you said that when you ask others about their lives ten years from now their answers would be about having a good family and a perfect life, though i think there are no perfect in life.. :)

  27. satitz says:

    I’m in your situation 10 years ago…except that I’m not being a single mom…but what u wrote about loneliness is exactly what I feel right now.

    Thank you for sharing your experience 10 years ago. It strengthens me today, as I read it. I hope that I can always be hopeful and stop worrying aboout things I have no control of, just like what you did.

    Thank you for telling me that life is going to be OK, 10, 20 years from now… :)

    • pajamadays says:

      Things are never perfect – and it can be easier to slip into a comfortable pain – but we can make a choice find the joy. Hang in there…I believe in you!

  28. natinanorton says:

    Lovely post and sound advice for us all. Perfect doesn’t exist and anyone striving for that will be disappointed every time. If we make the most of the life that were given, what more can we ask?

    Natina

    http://crosswordcharlie.wordpress.com/

  29. Christine says:

    Great post! I was a single mom myself. Living out of my car 18 years ago, I never envisioned the happy life I have today. I had my plans, but when life took over… it turned out better. Amazing how it all works out doesn’t it?

  30. Kris says:

    People always say you find someone when you are not looking. Has not helped me none…lol.
    I live on the envelope system now- funny to hear it described as such, and good to know there is a way out of there as well… :o)

  31. elenasc says:

    Very nice! I remember I wrote “My life in five years” few years ago, and I read it lately. It’s funny to see where you life takes you and how we change.

    elenasc.wordpress.com

  32. Melissa says:

    I am commenting 1st about you being freshly pressed! congrats. When I saw it on the home page i was all proud! I feel like I know a famous person or something! ok, now back to reading the blog!!!

  33. Project50 says:

    I found your post whilst researching a quick blog about blogging, and I’m so glad I did! Someone very wise once said that happiness isn’t about having what you want, but wanting what you have, and I think your sentiments echo that maxim beautifully.
    All the best to you.

  34. I really enjoyed this post. Congrats on being freshly pressed!!

    So much can change in a heartbeat, let alone ten years, it’s part of the thrill and sadness of life.

  35. “Hopefully my life, ten years from now, will look exactly the same.”

    Great point! I assume you’re taking into account the principle of dynamism and that the only surefire thing in life is change and thusly, static is equal to what some may call ‘death.’ :-P

    Nonetheless, an all-around great post. I’m sure it’s a welcomed breath of fresh air to all of the “wishing” done in many of the posts you referred to.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  36. shou4i says:

    Woa, nice topic. I think I will write an entry with this topic. It’s interesting !

  37. izziedarling says:

    Very interesting, honest, and good post. Would never answer a “ten year” or even “ten minute” prediction for myself as I am not a fortune teller. Have learned to disregard what I might think is missing – today – and acknowledge all the great blessings that are present right this minute. That is happiness, to me. And I didn’t know that 10 years ago. Thank you for making us think!

  38. carlafornia says:

    very nice! who would want to plan ten years ahead anyway? life for today and tomorrow :-)

  39. I loved the entire blog, but your last couple lines really resonated with me. I tell people I met my current husband only after I “got” that my life was great with or without a man. I am with him not because I need him but because I choose to be with him. I don’t think I could have created a healthy, loving relation with a man before creating one with myself.

  40. shyexpert says:

    Very aptly put, ten years of life can change everything. Things that were unimaginable at one stage, you can attain much more in ten years. Every year has its own memory and every moment has its own effect. You write very simple, but very touching. feels good to read your blogs

  41. Evie Garone says:

    What a nice blog. You are right, we must accept what we have and Say LIFE IS GOOD! Good luck to you, you sound so nice!! I really liked your blog. . .

    evelyngarone.com

  42. Bridgit says:

    I love numbers 6 and 7 on your list. It shows that you strive for balance in your life. For me, that’s the key to it all.

  43. I have a dear male friend currently in that fog. A genius who has had some bad relationships and thinks he is just too “different” and destined to be lonely. Thanks for giving me a way to encourage him! :)

  44. Right now I am exactly at that stage you descibed in your “ten years ago” scenario. As stressful as this stage is, I am grateful that I came across this post to realize that eventually I will learn that the struggles were worth it.

    • pajamadays says:

      They are worth it if we learn from them – we can not control the people or events around us, but we can control how we respond to them. Good luck to you and your friend.

      • Katie says:

        Thank you both for those messages. This is very on point with what I’m trying (and struggling) to deal with in my life right now. It’s hard to see the light of better days when things are at their worst. But it’s true – you can only control yourself, and that’s sometimes the hardest thing to accept when ‘if only’ and ‘what if’ and ‘what are you thinking?’ happen!

        I wish you all the best.

  45. babytyche08 says:

    Great Post! It’s a really a good inspirational story, that helps us become stronger as we go on with our journey in life.

  46. Life changes, thank God! Great post!

  47. Annette says:

    Would you say that a few years back when you were a single mom, trying to get through school, sorting your montly envelopes that your future wish list would mirror those that seemed “lonely?” Back then would you project that you would want that moment and time to, “stay the same?”

    Life is progressive.

    Growth is the most natural transformation that develops the essence of our life.

    I loved that your own story shows growth. That you’ve evolved from point A in your life to point B. You’re now married, have your own roof over your head and not your parents…

    I find this writing exercise interesting.

    If, after 10 year, everything were to stay the same, I would see that as depressing.

    Sure, the same husband, the same great home, the same great gifts from God, but what about 10 years worth of learning, stretching ourselves to develop our talents, change roles from a mother into a grandmother? A wife into a 20 year, anniversary celebrating wife?

    You’re right on so many levels and your story rings true and offers optimism…But a decade of the same still needs experience, enhancement and empowerment for growth.

    Thanks for sharing :-)

  48. Hona Amer says:

    beautiful!

  49. Luke says:

    Loneliness is something we all have had a taste of. Life is never promising, but one thing is. If you take it one day at a time and don’t worry, your days will be smoother. Just thank God for a friend you can count on and spend those lonely with. Loved your story.

    http://lukeslifeblog.wordpress.com/

    • pajamadays says:

      Thank you Luke – it sounds like you have had those moments too but hopefully have come out a stronger person on the other side. I appreciate you and look forward to getting to know your blog.

  50. Catherine333 says:

    Wonderful post! Thank you!

  51. Denise says:

    That question is always so hard to answer. It is impossible to know where life will lead us in the next 10 years and we seem to waste so much time trying to figure it out.

    Beautiful post and i look forward to reading more.

  52. lawyergal says:

    10 years from now, all I know is what I don’t want to be: fat and blaming it on having kids. I think fitness should be an ideal at all ages.

    http://lawyergal.wordpress.com/

    • pajamadays says:

      hahaha! Yes – you are right about that – is 8 years too long to keep calling this “baby fat”?

  53. Thanks for sharing. Very pragmatic. I’m glad you are happy with where your are in life.

    We tend to go through distinct phases in our life as we get older and one of the beauties of that is the strength of honest reflections and acceptance we have of ourself.

  54. Summer Embee says:

    Excellent! What a great outlook on life–You have what you need and you appreciate it.

  55. katie o. says:

    first off- congrats on being freshly pressed!
    second- what a beautiful post. and it’s so true. i feel the same way, can’t imagine my life in 1-0 years, but not even sure i really want to. :)

    • pajamadays says:

      Thank you Katie – just when I think I am writing a little blog post for myself, I end the day finding out a couple thousand people also read it! Craziness!! I don’t want to stress about all the “what if’s” and I just want to enjoy what I have right now.

  56. megwrites says:

    Beautiful. Your response illustrates how much can change in 10 years if you just let it. I’ll guess that in 10 years you will be blessed with people and experiences you never even knew you wanted.

  57. There is nothing “wrong” with feeling lonely or with loneliness. Give it ten years after your ten years and just maybe you’ll get some idea of what you do not know or have yet to feel. Just Let It Be. You have no choice anyway. We’re just human. All the best with DW.

  58. Julie says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post.. “I wasn’t looking anymore. I was finally okay to just be alone – but not be lonely.” Hope you have a HAPPY day today…

  59. asrai7 says:

    Wonderful post. My mother is a single mother with four children, I can only imagine what she goes through, but in ten years- I still think those 7 values will still hold fast. :)

  60. Meagan says:

    I think the fine line we walk is accepting where we are while still allowing time to look where we are going. Maybe it’s like driving a car…you only drive straight when you look out ahead, but that gaze cannot exclude what is right in front of you. Plus…there is a reason we have rear view mirrors too. Occasionally we need to glance back to see how far we have come. Making the most of now…opens up the possibilities of later. Nice post!

  61. Great post! I was asked in an interview recently, what my greatest accomplishment was so far , and I had to answer that just being here now was it. I have been through several life changes, and am feeling better and better about myself as I get older and can balance out the worries, the accomplishments and enjoy relishing each day. It’s a great feeling!

  62. Amy says:

    “I don’t want to rely on anyone else until I know that I can rely on myself.”
    That is so true! You can also change it to say: “I don’t want anyone to give me anything that I can’t give myself.”
    People want to find someone to make them happy, but it just doesn’t work that way. Good for you for going out and making life work for you first instead of waiting around for someone to do it for you.

  63. ~ T ~ says:

    Hey! A great story, thanks for sharing. It takes a great courage to be ok being alone when you are a woman. I’m married and have kids and I feel pretty happy with wear I am, but sometimes when the hubby is gone for a business trip or something I realize how horrible I am alone. I wonder if I’ll ever get over that. Knowing that you have makes me feel like it is possible.
    Life should be lived in the present. You never know what will happen tomorrow or next hour, so you should be happy with what you have and try things you always wanted to do!
    Thank you,
    ~ T

  64. prafeston says:

    I’m glad you are enjoying life. Here’s to 10 more years of you’re “perfect” life! :)

  65. Anonymous says:

    I feel that you are a wonderful person. You said life is good and your life ten years from now will look exactly the same. No, I am sure your life will be BETTER!

  66. Katie says:

    Thanks for the post. I am one who definitely has the typical list of: happy marriage and family, and job I enjoy. But what you said at the end really hit home. My relationship basically ended recently, and I am having a hard time with it. I don’t know what will happen ultimately, but that feeling – of being alone but not lonely, is what I miss the most. I’m so glad you found happiness, and I hope it remains for the next 10 years on.

  67. gmomj says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly.
    You reach a point in life, a maturity when you learn to be in the moment.
    I expressed these same sentiments in this post if you would like to see it.
    Have a beautiful day friend.
    “Bart’s Vegas trip:What Would You Do?” (slideshow)

  68. What a wonderful, inspirational post!

  69. Todd Pack says:

    Congratulations on making Freshly Pressed! I think you answered the Plinky Prompt honestly and beautifully. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be where I am today, and while I have a general trajectory in mind, I can’t imagine where I’ll be a decade from now (although I’m hoping it involves me finally getting a jet pack and/or a flying car). People waiting for their perfect life should remember that life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

    http://www.toddpack.com

  70. You’re right…people so often focus on the negative, it’s sad. I truly love your optimistic outlook!
    http://www.denwrites.com

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