And then what?

And then what?

I keep getting asked this question in regards to what I am planning once I get my Masters degree next month (holy crap, next month!), so I wanted to take the opportunity to answer it:


I have no major, grand scheme plan lined up and do not foresee my life changing all that much after December 13th, aside from a great reduction in stress.

I recently had a family member of one of the residents on my unit ask me "And then what?" and after I gave him a schpeal about how there were a lot of different directions I could go and various things I would be interested in doing, but I will definitely be staying put in my current position for the time being, he gave me a challenge. He challenged me to set 5 and 10 year professional goals because without goals I am like a "ship without a rudder, blowing wherever the wind may take me" and that I need to have direction, so I can always be working towards something.

Since this conversation a month or so ago, I have seriously been fretting over these lists he wants from me by Christmas. Fundamentally, I don't disagree with him. It is great to have goals and something to work for - absolutely. But, all of the best things that have happened to me have been because I was open to them. I found my undergrad minor in Gerontology by happenstance and it has shaped the trajectory of my career. I sent out my resume cold to multiple facilities in the area and the one I am at is one of the few that called me in for an interview. Then, I took my current position when something opened at my facility and found my passion for working with older adults with dementia. These were not goals I had laid out or a specific career road map I was following.

I decided to get my Masters in Gerontology to be more effective in my current job, learn more about the vast field of gero, and add more skills and qualifications to my resume. I feel infinitely more enriched and knowledgeable in my field and more competent as a supervisor because of all I have learned in the last two years. I would go back and do it all again because it has been an enormously valuable experience.

Moving forward though, I am going to continue doing as I have done. I am going to remain open to various opportunities that may come  my way. If I find something I really want to do, I will pursue it. Right now, I don't know what the next few years of my life are going to look like, and perhaps for the first time, I am OK with that. So, to really answer "and then what?"

And then, I might get around to learning how to cook
And then, I might set a goal to train and actually run a 10K
And then, I might want to take an art class
And then, I might read for fun and review more books on my blog - maybe even join a book club
And then, I will get organized and clean out all of the stuff that has been accumulating for the past two years
And then, I am going to enjoy being out of school and just live my life, open to whatever opportunities and chances come my way professionally


Brittney said...

I LOVE this. Maybe I've just run into worse luck than the guy who challenged you, but anything I've tried to "plan" my life God had other, radically different, plans. I agree it is best just to be open to possibilities, because they will present themselves, and like you said, living for each day is probably a better, happier, more fulfilling way to be than constantly trying to live inside the grand master plan for your future.

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