Reflections on the Future

I am incredibly proud to announce that I am now an aunt again (times four)!! Garrett John Eichler was born on April 23rd at 9:57 AM (Eastern time, so 3:57 PM here in Europe) and weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs 4 oz. Félicitations to my big brother Greg and his amazing wife TIffany!

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Just like the Olympics, I can always count on Greg and Tiffany to produce a new niece or nephew for me every two years. And just like the Olympics, this event always forces me to reflect on what has changed in my life over the last two years and what I have envisioned for the next two. Go ahead, make fun, but I love the Olympics. It is one of those occurrences where I am always guaranteed to remember what I was doing when Kerri Strug and the Magnificent Seven finally snagged a team gold (vacationing in Hocking Hills) or where I was when Michael Phelps broke the record by winning his 8th gold in Beijing (Bar Louie, Arena district in Columbus).

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In Spring 2007 when my nephew Adam was born, I was just finishing up my junior year of college. I was certain that I knew where my life would be in 2 years. I had a boyfriend, I would stay in the Toledo area, and find a job as an interior designer. I would be on the path to true adulthood. And yet in March 2009 when my niece Kelsey was born, I was without boyfriend, without job and moving back in with my parents. I had never considered moving back in with my parents as a valid option. When I took an Interior Design job in Columbus just out of college, I figured I would be there forever. Ahh the funny things that happen when we try to plan our lives out.

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That spring of 2009 was a wake-up call for me. I had been on my own for quite a while and all of the sudden, I felt like a kid again. I found a job about 6 weeks after I lost my previous one, but it was not in the ideal field. Of course I didn’t know where my life would be in two years, but if I had guessed, it would have included a different new job and an apartment of my own again.

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And yet by May of 2011, when my niece Kendall was born, things had taken an uncharted direction once again. Although this time, it was in a positive direction. I was selling real estate part time and came to the realization that I could afford to buy a house. The idea had NEVER crossed my mind before as a single woman, so there was no way I could have predicted this back in 2009. Not only did I realize it was possible, but also that it would be cheaper than renting an apartment! I felt comfortable in the fact that I would settle down in North Canton. I also had stuck out my job at the golf course, as it turns out, I really enjoyed it and didn’t ever look for that design job. My guess for two years in the future would have included my simple little life in my new house, enjoying the fact that I was close to friends and family.

Like each two-year cycle before, I’ve changed my priorities, opinions, thoughts and feelings between 2011 and now. The argument can be made that I changed more in the past two years than all 25 prior years combined. In November of 2011, I set out for my first European adventure. It was a remarkable trip: a learning experience about other parts of the world and myself. And thus, I caught the bug. My plane had barely landed before I was trying to plan my next trip to Europe. Nine months later when we took off for Spain, I felt that exhilaration all over again.

There is NO WAY I could have predicted two years ago that I would quit my job, leave friends and family (and a once again pregnant Tiffany), pack it up and head over to Europe for 2+ months. That is the crazy and exciting thing about life: we really have no idea what is going to happen. I used to plan every minute detail out and get upset when things didn’t happen as planned, but that is a silly way to go about life. The joy is in living in the here and now, not the past and not the future. There are many things that contributed to my new-found outlook on this topic, one of them being the go-with-the-flow nature that is required of international travel.

Rumor has it that Greg and Tiffany are done giving me a new niece or nephew every two years. But hopefully that won’t stop me from reflecting on how my life has changed every now and then. Where will I be in two years? I can honestly say that I have no idea. I might still be in North Canton, I might not. I might be living in another state or country. I could be doing any type of job. It’s exciting to think that whatever plans I could foolishly make for myself would only be trumped by God’s plans for my life anyway.

In the words of a friend, stop trying to figure it all out and just let shit happen.

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