One of the big "truths" all over self-help literature is that we overestimate what we can do in one year but severely underestimate what we can accomplish in ten. Our vision for the future muscles are just not that strong. At least not without practice. It can be hard to look further than the horizon of the next major holiday. Some of us plan ahead a little more than others, but I'd still venture that most people do not plan more than a year in advance.
Even when we are committed to an activity that takes several years, like a university degree programme, we tend to take it term by term rather than plan for the whole four years.
In ten years, I'll be 43. I have no idea what that will be like and where I will be then. I have hopes and dreams and big visions, but that's all. It is hard to think that far. It is even harder to have faith that I will come far enough to accomplish what I want to achieve.
Today, I discovered a little trick to reassure myself. Instead of looking ten years into the future, I looked ten years into the past. Ten years ago, I was 23 and living in Dublin. I was working a lot and tired all the time because my job had night shifts. I was in a lot of emotional distress, and while I loved Dublin, I do not remember my time there as "happy". It was alright. I was lonely a lot. There was so much to figure out. Everything hurt.
In the ten years that followed, I moved back to Germany, started university and quit university, got a part-time job, got a full-time job, broke up with S (it took three years to break up and work out the relationship, but it was all worth it), had several crushes and loves and encounters, met my husband, moved into my dream apartment, raised a wonderful son, got my husband to move here from America, figured out my work-life goals, made some serious upgrades in the relationship department, wrote a ton, got rid of all my debt and made massive improvements in my finances.
I am the healthiest and most emotionally stable I have ever been. I am happier than I was at eight years old.
What's more, I have come a million miles further than I could have predicted at 23. Or even at 27. I was still pretty stuck at 27. It's only in the last four years that I started to really "work" on things.
If I can get this far in ten years not knowing where I am going half the time, I think I can get where I want to go in ten years now that I am finally in the driver's seat of my life.
You'll get there, too. Just figure out how to get into the driver's seat and settle in for the long road to yourself.