Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Evolution of Life's Priorities

On my road to recovery, one of the things which really kept me going was my Road Map. 

What, you ask, is my Road Map? I shall explain.

As you might have noticed, I'm a thinker.  I think things through.  I wonder about all options.  I decide on plans.  And so I decided to set forth a road map of my life goals - the aims I was striving for - and to mark the progress on the Road Map as personal success; each land mark reached an indication of how far I've come.

It was, and in my own humble opinion still is, a worthwhile venture.  Without a doubt, seeing lights at the end of the tunnel help propel me forward when I was feeling weak or insecure or feeling as though I wasn't making progress.

The Road Map was divided into two parts - short and long term goals.  The short term goals were all specifically related to my therapy and not relevant for this post.  The long term goals, however, were my true goals for life.

They were, in order (and skipping some):

Get Back To College
Find my own place
Get my dream job
Succeed at my dream job
Get married at about 30 to a non-Jew; and
MAYBE have a kid at 33.  MAYBE.

Yes, it really was that specific about ages.  (See, as an 18/19 year old, I was clearly a genius, with all the answers, who know exactly what she wanted.)

Each milestone on this Map, in my mind, was an essential measuring stick of my success as a human being.  Each step progress in the path of my own life.  Each point reached a giant "fuck you" to anyone and everyone who didn't think I could do it. 

And I threw myself into it.  At first, the short term goals.  With gusto.  With fervor.  With everything I had.  Because my therapist told me there would be no long term success until the short term goals were reached.  And I'm nothing if not persistent.

However, this was all before I had heard of the saying "Man plans and God laughs".  (This was also before I believed in God so the saying would have been nonsensical at any rate.)

But you know what?  Man plans and God laughs.  But not always in a bad way.

I did get back in school.  At some point, I amended the road map to getting married at 27-30 to a non-observant Jew and have one or maybe two kids 29-33.

Now here I am.  I'm getting married at 21 to an observant Jew, I can foresee having maybe even three kids (!!!)  - all before 30.  I still want to try and find my dream job, but I no longer think that my success in the work force is more important than raising a family.

And, while I will be graduating college this spring, this accomplishment suddenly feels less important than it did three years ago.

I'm not really sure what to make of this either.  On the one hand, graduating college used to be the ultimate proof that I was something on my own.  That I could function as a productive person in the world.  My BA was going to be like a flaming sword, cutting through the darkness and shining a path to whatever the future held for me (you know, a great job, a non-Jewish husband and a kid at 33).

Now, I still think about it with a sense of accomplishment, but that's it.  It's a milestone in life, one that a thousand other people accomplished with me in my school alone (ok, that's an exaggeration but not much of one).  But suddenly, I look at my college sword and all there is is a damp flicker of light.

Yet there is a bright light coming from somewhere

My personal life sword stands as a beacon now.  I see that my excitement at my graduation has waned because my priorities have changed.  I'm no longer 18/19 year old Cymbaline struggling to be someone.  I suddenly AM someone.  And I have accomplished.  And yes, over time, things which seemed so important to me at one stage of my life are no longer the end all's and be all's.

Does that make me a failure?  Of course not.  It makes me a person.  A real person.  Which is what I've always wanted to be anyway.

So do I crumple up the Road Map?  Fold it and place it neatly in some box in the garage never to be seen or heard from again?  No way.  Instead I amend it, re-draw it and hope to look at it fondly in five or ten years and laugh about 21 year old Cymbaline's ideals.  Because I'm sure over the next 5-10 years those will change as well.

People change.  It's just the way of the world.  We learn more, we mature.  We grow up and our priorities change.

Now excuse me while I try to accomplish my new plans before God starts laughing again.


  1. :) I like this post. I think everyone can relate, as we all have goals in life, whether or not we draw a map with colorful crayons :P Good to hear that you are in such a good place. Keep going strong.


  3. I think our road maps change when we stop trying to give it to THEM and decide to live for ourselves...

    In any case; good for you, girly!