One of the few really useful things I learned in grad school came about one day as a professor was telling us the requirements for an upcoming assignment. A student asked if we’d be required to turn in our outlines, in advance. It was standard practice for some professors to approve outlines so that students didn’t spend a lot of time on a paper/working on research that wasn’t well thought out from the get-go.
The professor replied with a mocking NO. How could any smart person, she reasoned, complete an outline for a paper if they haven’t even started the research? How will you know where your path will take you before you even start your journey?
Like I said, one of the few useful things I learned in grad school.
This came to mind, not too long along, as I was hanging out with some girlfriends. It was a Twitter girls night out, but as I’m about to mention ages and as not everyone might like me blogging about their age, I’m going to make everyone anonymous for this post.
This particular night was unique, in that there was a 15 year age span among us (with me being near the top). At some point the topic of weddings came up because one of the younger ladies present is about to be a bridesmaid.
So we started to talk about weddings and some of the big, lavish weddings we’ve been to and been in. And the fact that for those of us who were a little older, how so many of our friends who married young were no longer married. How the brides with the biggest, fanciest weddings in their 20s were frequently the first ones to get divorced. I am not suggesting that everyone who gets married in their 20s gets divorced. I know some very happily married people my age with teenaged children.
Those brides, I’m quite sure that on their wedding days they were all looking forward and were pretty certain that they knew what their lives were going to be like. And some of them were wrong.
I can’t remember a time when I ever thought I knew what my life was going to be like. I can remember being hopeful. And I can remember plenty of times when I powered through bad spots because I was sure there was something better on the other side. But I’ve never actually had a clear vision of the future. No real outline. Ever.
Just some vague notion when I was a kid that I’d grow up and move into Manhattan, and I got that from watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
I wonder if that’s meaningful.
Tags: Breakfast at Tiffany\'s, plan, wedding