Where will you be in 10 years?

Remember those life plan papers you had to write in school?

In the fourth grade, I said I’d be a writer — a novelist, although I don’t think I knew the word — and married with kids by the time I was 30. I was more concerned with family and 1800s thinking about staying home and not working, actually. What was I thinking?

In middle school, I said I’d be a school librarian. I don’t remember as much thought going into family, but I remember being annoyed by the Dewey decimal system (not the number part, but figuring out what belonged in which category). What was I thinking?

In junior high school, I said I’d be a teacher and a writer. What was I thinking?

In high school, I said I’d be a journalist. Everyone assumed TV for some reason, but that was never my interest: Newspapers it is. What was I thinking?

In college, I was pretty sure I’d be a journalist. It took a couple of years to find out about design, but I knew from the start I wasn’t a reporter. The family timetable had definitely moved. I had no idea where I wanted to live or work after college. I said I wanted to be an editor before I was 30, which I did. Still, what was I thinking?

For some reason I thought after school ended the “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” question would also end. Not true. I think it’s been asked at every job interview I’ve been at. I know I’ve been guilty of asking it a time or two. I’m not convinced there’s a good answer; I know I don’t have one.

For some reason, I couldn’t help but wonder today where I’ll be in 10 years. I hope it’s not still working the late shift at a newspaper, spooling sports pages. I’m pretty sure it won’t be at a newspaper. I’m not so concerned about family, although I’ve been very caught up in family history lately. Children make me break out in hives. OK, that’s not true, but they do make me want to run screaming in the opposite direction. I have no idea what city or state it’ll be, although I’d love if it was somewhere abroad. (I’ve always dreamed of living in Europe. I just haven’t known how — or haven’t had the courage — to make it happen.) I’m not sure what job or title it’ll be.

But now I know I’m OK working without a plan. I like knowing that I can wake up tomorrow and change everything if I want — there’s no longterm plan to consult first. I’m sure in 10 years I’ll be saying, “What was I thinking?”