a woman stares at an hourglass unable to fathom the future

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

Remember when we were in college or just starting out in our career and people would ask, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" And you, as a young 20-something would feel like 5 years was an eternity away? Which meant you would probably be dominating the world while kicking butt in all aspects of your life... Me too.

Crohn's and UC impact our answers

However, being handed a lifelong sentence with Crohn's as a 23-year-old, answering the question of where I see myself in 5 years was always a challenge. I could barely predict where I would be in 5 months, prior to being in remission. 

Every trip I booked came with adding travel insurance, and when planning any type of social event, my RSVP was always "Maybe" or "Yes" with a special added note that I will do my best to attend but may have to cancel last minute

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I envied those with clear visions of their future, and those who were able to make lists of their yearly goals and aspirations and actually achieve them.

The long term is unpredictable

Now, as a 37-year-old, I still find it difficult to grasp the idea of the "where do you see yourself in 5 years" question. Because regardless of your age, living with a chronic illness lends itself to unpredictability when speaking about a moment at any point in the future. 

Sometimes, I like fast-forwarding 5 years in my mind and seeing lower medical bills and the ability to administer my biologic as an injection rather than an infusion (something my insurance is currently denying). 

Family planning was also unpredictable with Crohn's

I used to think about my 5-year plan and see children in my future, but always hesitated because I understood the fertility issues that commonly came with IBD. Fortunately, I had 3 children in under 4 years and I remained in remission through all of my pregnancies. Despite this good fortune, I never took it for granted that having a baby (or 3) was in my future.

There was much uncertainty and endless planning involved to ensure I could control as much of my disease as possible, however, I still worried that my body would betray me and my future plans.

I treasure the good days

The one silver lining I see in not being able to confidently state my 5-year plan is that I do not take time for granted. I do not wish away weeks or months until the next event or holiday. I don't try to mentally fast-forward through this phase in my kids' lives, rather I savor every little cry and extra attention they need (OK, maybe not the tantrums) and enjoy being present in the current season. 

I am able to take one day at a time and value the good days, not knowing if I will have a bad day with my Crohn's in the near or distant future. Sometimes I wish timed moved slower, as it always feels like I just had my infusion when it was actually 8 weeks prior. 

Where will I be in 5 years? 5 months? 5 days?

Time waits for no one, and not knowing where I am headed in 5 years is absolutely fine as long as I am enjoying the present, putting one foot in front of the other, and not trying to impress others on my future plans and aspirations. I am just focusing on living, thank you.

Do you ever set a 5-year plan? How do you approach questions about your future goals and plans?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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