That sounds about right.
Setting long term goals was a practice I never even thought about. Why set milestones in your life only to be let down when you are unable to achieve them? Hell, I thought I’d be dead by 30, so what was the point? Life doesn’t exist after 30, right?
So, what is the point? Well, unless I pull a Jim/Janis/Jimi this year for my 27th (chances are not looking good since I don’t smoke weed, have never even seen cocaine, and still confused how one puts heroin into their bodies), 30 is going to come a lot sooner than later and I’m going to be sitting on my couch wondering why I’m idle and NOTHING SCARES THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF ME MORE THAN THAT PREVIOUS STATEMENT.
Growing up, I always had a vague notion of how my life was going to plan out. I was going to work in a creative business, most likely the film industry, and I was going to get famous in a B-list level way. Like Rick Moranis. The sort of way where only true fans will recognize you on the street and stop and say, “Oh my God, your film The Goldsteins Go To Canada changed my life!”
The how and the when and the where and the why to achieving this didn’t really matter.
There was a point A and a point B and the logistics never even made an appearance in my thoughts.
So, when at the age of 20 I found myself on the fast track to Hollywood, I didn’t question it.
I was a part of everything I ever dreamed of; driving to work past all the beautiful homes once owned by my idols such as Cary Grant and Charlie Chaplin, working on studio lots where “Six Feet Under”, “Newsradio”, and “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” were shot, working for people who I used to sit and stare att for hours and hours in front of the TV, eating dinner with Oscar winners, going to movie premieres, standing back stage at concerts, walking past the line at whatever club on Sunset Boulevard.
That is why it came as a surprise when I woke up one day five years later, realizing I was completely unhappy and lost. Though I wouldn’t trade a second of my time in Los Angeles up until then, I had come to the realization that I had no idea where I was going. I got to the point A, but how was I working towards point B? Hell, I didn’t even know what point B was anymore or if I even wanted it.
This awareness hit around the age of 25. A common age for the twenty-something to realize that maybe they don’t like the industry they have a degree in, maybe they don’t like the city they are living in, maybe it’s time to unload that ball and chain they’ve been dating since college, and maybe it’s time to make a change.
So like any normal 25 year-old going through a quarter-life crisis, I talked a lot about myself, I sat at home and cried while watching reruns of “X-files”, I frequently shouted teen movie dialogue such as, “You just don’t understand me!” to my parents, I realized I wanted to write, and I abandoned my life and moved to another city.
I planted my ass in Austin, Texas and to my surprise, I became happier.
I thought I found the answer to my twenty-something lament.
And then two year later, I woke up and realized I was right back to where I was before. The only difference was that I was older and sweating a lot in the cruel Texan sun.
So what was my answer this time?
Pick up and move to another city, of course.
It wasn’t until my mother
shouted for the 50th time said, “You just can’t keep picking up and running away from your problems, Lauren. They’ll always be there”, that I stepped back and really thought about what was going on.
Though I will never admit this to her outside of my blog, my mother is right.
I keep running because I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a plan because I’m afraid that setting up long term goals will constrict me. Not having long term goals makes me feel lost. Feeling lost makes me whiny. No plan + no long term goals + lost feeling + whiny = stereotypical American…and I want none of it.
I sat down the other day to begin writing out my 1, 5, and 10 year life goals and boy, was it difficult. In fact, I’m home from work with something teetering on a migraine just trying to get through this post. Looking deep within yourself is not fun. Realizing that your life ultimately has an expiration date is not fun either.
But I’ll be damned if I wake up one day at 40 asking myself, “How did I get here?”
Do you have a five or ten year plan?