It’s been five years since I wrote a five-year plan

me in 2012 me in 2017.jpg

Today I am feeling like this meme; just replace 2016 with 2012.

I have another blog, which I’ve kept up for ten years now. At this point it functions more as a private journal than a public site. The other day, I was searching for something there, and I got caught up reading old posts that I had long ago forgotten. I stopped short at one that I wrote just over five years ago. It was my five year plan.  Continue reading

to do, and done


Things that I still want to do in the near future even though I have taken little to no action on them to date:

  • Spend at least two weeks and preferably two months doing Spanish immersion in Spain or South America.
  • Take a tour of the South of France.
  • Visit a bunch of Europe’s tiny states and principalities: Luxembourg, San Marino, Monaco, Andorra, and Lichtenstein, to be exact.
  • Practice my French conjugation the way I used to in school, with drills and tables and such.
  • Convert my ever-growing French vocab list (2,661 words and counting!) into an Anki deck.
  • Read more than five pages of a book at any one time.
  • Get back to running two or three times a week.
  • Earn an income.

On the other hand…

Things that I have done in the recent past and/or am continuing to do in the present:

  • Committed hundreds of new French words to memory.
  • Learned my way around Paris. Though I still can’t keep the arrondissements straight and probably never will.
  • Got out of town more than once, to bucket list places both near and far.
  • Met a ton of new people.
  • Started taking photographs with my video camera.
  • Finished my first (small) paid assignment in Europe.
  • Started my own documentary project, which can only be described as Grey Gardens, in Paris, with British people.
  • Ate my weight in cheese.

Eight for eight: proof that for everything I have not done (yet!), I have done something else worthy. Because you know that my annoying brain is keeping score.

[The photo is from my documentary project.]

I don’t know if I’m coming or going

Wonder Wheel at Coney Island

I started my new job on a six-week contract, which ended last Friday, and now I’m on a four-week extension until the end of June. When my boss told me last week that he would try to get me a six month-long extension this time, I found myself telling him, “Actually, I sort of love the short-term contracts. Can you see if you can get me another four-week one?” I have since come to regret – and retract – that wholly short-sighted request, but I am still in thrall to its motivation: to feel that I can get up and go wherever I’d like, whenever I’d like (or rather, four weeks from whenever I’d like). My lease is up soon – August 1st – and the only other contractual obligation I have in New York is my job. Which means that as soon as it ends, I’m free as a bird – geographically if not financially speaking. I promised myself after my trip to Argentina a year and a half ago that I’d leave for an open-ended language-learning sabbatical in Senegal within two years. If I went in August I’d be six months ahead of schedule.

At first that thought was exciting, but as it sunk in I realized that I’m not yet ready to leave town – mentally, financially or in any other way. And there’s no good reason to leave a job this interesting and challenging before I’m forced to. So I decided I should embrace the longest contract I can possibly get – only to find out two days later that my preferences are entirely irrelevant, since the rules for my particular job designation prohibit me from getting a six-month contract. I’ll be month to month until I leave here, whether in August or next April (another big question mark).

So the roller coaster of uncertainty continues… as do my attempts to enjoy the rush and stave off the mental motion sickness.

[Photo: Bit Boy]