Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Five Years - The Long and Short of it

Several times in the last few weeks and a few more times in the next few weeks, Doug and I have had to make decisions based on the future.

The future, you might have noticed, is a complete unknown. The past is a little more predictable.

We can be pretty confident about what we'll be doing tomorrow. Or even next week (knock wood). But I have learned (multiple times and in often surprising ways) that there is no way to predict what will be important and what will no longer matter down the road.

Looking ahead five years and looking back five years are two very different exercises. One is about learning, the other is about wild ass guessing based on what it important today.

I bought my car over four years ago and took on a five year loan that will be paid off in 14 months. The car was purchased based on a lifestyle that I no longer live. It was purchased to do things I no longer do. And I bought rather than leased based on mileage I no longer drive. I love my car and am very happy with it but, if I needed a new car today, I would make very different decisions.

I signed on for an insulin pump over four years ago based on a lifestyle that I no longer have. I love my pump and the difference it has made in my diabetes management but I am seriously considering not getting that same pump again because my lifestyle today is so different.

In the next few weeks I, and therefore Doug, need to make several long-term decisions. Nothing serious so no worries but they are decisions that involve me committing significant amounts of money and time for the next several years. They will be decisions made based on my lifestyle of today.

And yet we all know that life can change on a dime.

Five years from now, I could have swum across Lake Ontario. Or I could have decided I no longer enjoy swimming and have switched my energy to golf and racket ball. In five years I could be working at the same place I've been for the past 16 years or I could be working a completely different job in a completely different field with a completely different salary. I could be in the exact same state of health I am now or I could have developed celiac disease, retinopathy and high blood pressure.

I could be in the same house. I could be living across the province. Heck, I could have decided to move to Israel.

The odds decrease as the degree of craziness increases but still, who knows where life will take us next? We make decisions every day that affect our future. I think it's when we actually have to sign on the dotted line that it feels really real.

We can't count on the future. Heck, we can't even count on tomorrow. Thankfully there is one thing that I've always been able to count on. My ability to adapt to wherever I am and whatever I am doing. I may not have the right car or the right pump for my lifestyle but I always find a way to make things work and, after a while, hardly notice the difference.

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