If you were to ask me what I want my life to look like in five years, I could make up an answer pretty well. I’d like to be physically fit, traveling the world, making money, with a lot of cool friends. Basically the same shit I’m doing now but with better abs and a real social life.
But that’s the problem with those kinds of questions. I can tell you what “I”, the current me, would like my life to look like, but I could never see into the mind of myself in the state that I’m going to be in at the time we’re talking about. So the question you’re really asking isn’t, “what do you want your life to look like”, it’s actually, “given what you know about yourself, what do you think you’re going to want your life to look like?”.
And honestly, we don’t know ourselves that well. We can’t know ourselves that well. In fact, it’s sometimes easier to know other people than to know ourselves. Self-reflection is just a difficult thing to do. A lot of people die without ever knowing themselves. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and honestly sitting around navel-gazing will do more harm than good. But there’s a paradox in the fact that we’re all preparing for this future that we picture in our heads without even knowing if the person in that future is even going to want it.
So I’ve been thinking. What can I be most certain I’m going to want? What, no matter what happens, am I going to wish for in the future? I’m always going to want to be healthy. I’m always going to want good relationships with friends and family. I know this, because I’m pretty sure every human being wants this too. So that’s the easy part.
The tricky question is when you think… Do I want a family? Do I want to keep traveling across the globe, bacheloring it up? Do I want to start a business? These aren’t really things you can do at the same time. You have to choose. Ultimately, this is the part where we have to know ourselves. We have to make a guess about whether our future selves would be more happy as business owners or as fathers.
Personally, this is one aspect of my future-self’s desires that I can almost certainly predict… I want a family. I want a wife who can come along and travel the world with me. Then we’ll settle somewhere, have a couple of rugrats, and then live in domestic bliss ever after. Or something like that anyway.
In other words, I can’t imagine any version of myself that doesn’t want to find a special girl with whom to have adventures. Someone to do crazy shit with. Someone who will tell me when I’m about to do something phenomenally stupid, like sleep outside in the winter for 3 weeks.
It’s just a matter of finding the right girl. And then all I have to do is convince her to go a little crazy and come join me on this adventure.