The five year plan

My Aunt Karen recently gave me some very good advice on dealing with friends and relatives who want to know where my life is going. It’s a question that comes up a lot when you’re thirty and/or engaged; people want to know about the wedding, sure, but they also want to know about your career, your real estate options, your thoughts on family planning, and all sorts of other really important crap.

Now, I like to think I’ve got some pretty good answers to those questions. The wedding is coming along well, we’re looking at some houses in the east end, some great things are set to happen down at the office in the next year, and we’ll figure out the family thing as we get the other stuff resolved. Aside from a few bad habits and some occasional juvenile tendencies, I’m starting to think I’ve got this adult thing down.

But the people who care about you are always going to have questions about the way your life is going. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, somebody comes along with the best of intentions and asks you where you stand on an issue you’ve either been actively avoiding or haven’t even considered. Hell, I’m sure I do it to my brother and sister all the time. It’s only natural, but if you haven’t got it all figured out like I pretend to, it can put you on the spot.

My Aunt Karen was the youngest child and the only girl in a close Irish Canadian family, so I’m sure she had to deal with a lot of scrutiny herself when she was growing up. One of these days, I’ll have to ask my little sister what that’s like. I don’t doubt that they’ve both learned a thing or two about how to manage it.

Which brings me to the five year plan. “Whenever anybody asks you about marriage or kids or houses or work,” my Aunt Karen recently told me, “tell them that you’re on a five year plan. If all goes well, you not only won’t have to go into any more detail, but you also won’t have to discuss all those things with that person again for another few years.”

Never let it be said that my Aunt Karen doesn’t know what she’s talking about. In fact, let’s make it official! Kate and I are on a five year plan, for all intents and purposes, and it couldn’t be going better. Indeed, it’s going so well that we encourage you to get on a five year plan of your own. Your friends and family will be glad you did for a while!

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