Several years ago, Ger and I sat down and did some planning for the future. Separately, we wrote out our various short- and long-term goals and then compared our lists. I don’t have a hard copy of what I wrote down, but I am fairly certain that one of my goals for our family was “have another baby.”
Flash forward a few years – more years than I thought it would be.
Here we are. We have our rainbow baby and know that our family is complete. (As a side note – I know many families still struggling to know what their family will look like, either waiting for a rainbow or deciding to try for another pregnancy after a rainbow, and my heart aches so much because I know that “in between” time is so desperately hard). We had a goal of adding an addition to our house, which is wrapping up. We have been spending the past ten months or so focusing on our marriage, including therapy, and feel like we are in a good place, changing our schedule with the therapist to once a month instead of bi-weekly. So now what?
So we sat down again and decided to write out three things in three categories. What do we want to pay off? (Student loans? Car? House?) What are three short-term goals? And what are three long-term goals, more than five years into the future? Separately, we made our lists. Then we compared.
Shockingly – or perhaps not shockingly at all – our lists were nearly identical. We are on the same page with what we want to do. Now the question becomes: how do we get there? For example, a short-term goal of mine is to take the kids to Disneyworld (Ger wrote more generically “travel”). I have this idea in my head that we have a window and if we wait too long, Theo will be too old and not enjoy the magic. How do we make that happen? We talked through our longer-term goals too, including retirement and college for the kids.
Then the details: how do we reach these goals? Where does the money come from? What else do we need to do along the way? We wrote all of that out also.
Am I naïve enough to think that it will be smooth sailing until retirement? No. More than likely, there will be many hiccups in The Plan.
But it felt good to look forward again. I have been a planner since I was born, certain that I knew what I wanted and how to get there. The past few years of struggling with pregnancy brought intense anxiety in “I don’t know and I can’t control the outcome” in addition to its emotional wreckage. Being to a point where we can say “Ok. What’s next?” brings a familiarity to my life that I have been missing.