The Five Year Plan

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
– Maori Proverb

Five years ago I held a baby girl in my arms. Now that baby is a proud and sturdy Kindergartner who loves to color and draw and is learning how to read.

Five years ago we didn’t know it yet, but we were about to give up the life we had made in Santa Barbara that included our little rental cottage downtown, a close network of friends and neighbors, my business as a personal chef, and a winning ticket in a housing lottery that would have given us the option to purchase a home at an affordable rate, in order to follow a career opportunity for my husband in LA.

Five years ago I had not yet joined the corporate workforce, and learned all that I have learned since then, from the people I work with and for today.

Five years ago I knew a lot less about who I was. I had not yet started asking some of the questions I ponder regularly now. I particularly hadn’t started to think much about the passage of time yet. When I think about it I was really a lot more innocent and maybe even naive five years ago.

Five years ago I had no idea the twists and turns my marriage would take me on and I certainly had no idea that we would be better off for it. The path we had been on was unsustainable and I think that was something I was trying hard to convince myself was not the case. Five years ago we just kept marching forward blindly but with faith. Now we know the terrain better and our love is deeper and stronger.

What do I want from these next five years? Aside from basic health and safety for all those I know and love, I suppose I want more of this. More clarity. More self-forgiveness. More understanding. I want to come to know myself better, and feel good and solid about who I am and what I’m doing with my life.  I want to walk hand in hand with my daughter through these next five years because it’s likely that in the five that follow them I will be jogging along side her but she may not let me hold her hand anymore. I want to help her remember (because she knows it now) that she is valuable, and that her opinions, feeling, interests, they matter. And that she is loved and supported by my husband and I and a large extended family.

I know there will be both joyous and difficult times in the next five years. How could there not? But I feel strong and optimistic and determined that I will breathe it in and be grateful. And I know that I better make it the best five years I can because the one thing that has really sunk in this past five years is that this too shall pass.

Happy Thanksgiving may you look at what you are thankful for, hold those you love close, and take that snapshot in your mind: This is your Life now. For better or worse, it won’t always be this way.

I’m adding my voice to the chorus, sharing thoughts on five years ago and five years hence, and honoring, in so doing, those whose next five years are not assured.  Big Little Wolf started this, and Lindsey, Kristen and Aidan have all participated.  This effort is in support of Ashley Quinones, the “kidney cutie,” who is raising money for a life-saving kidney transplant.  Please click here to learn more.

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4 Responses to The Five Year Plan

  1. Lindsey says:

    What a powerful reminder that what is right now, is. And yet even as I acknowledge it, it’s changing. That is a beautiful and brutal truth. xox

  2. These are indeed precious times with our children, as they grow and learn so much – still wanting us actively in their lives.

    Thank you so much for adding your voice to this chorus with your Five Year Plan.

    A wonderful holiday to you and yours!

    • Kathryn says:

      Thank you and Lindsey both for being the inspiration to write it down. Something so real always brings all our hopes and dreams into perspective. We are so lucky to even have them. Happy Thanksgiving xox

  3. I love these lines: “Five years ago we just kept marching forward blindly but with faith. Now we know the terrain better and our love is deeper and stronger.”

    I know that feeling, intensely, and am thankful for that my footing has gotten more solid through years lived with my eyes and heart open, even when I wasn’t sure of the path.

    Thank you – and happy Thanksgiving.

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