Don't ask me where I'll be in 5 years unless you want me to shake my belly in your face

Yesterday one of my bosses asked me where I see myself in five or ten years. Knowing that my time here is tied to short-term contracts, I initially responded "I don't know, right now I live about 6 months at a time..." to which the table broke out in laughter. I almost panicked... why couldn't I answer? Sitting there at the table, I just shook my head and said "I really can't even imagine it..."

To be honest, one part of me wanted to explain how if my wildest dreams came true I would have an outreach center here in Guwahati for the street and slum children. What is currently my 'community project' with the feedings would be a non-profit serving the under-served by empowering these children through meals, school, health and rehabilitation. I would own a home but not the kind with a white picket fence, it would have to be open and able to be used in any of the above capacities. I would have about one hundred children or more, however many come into my life. I would still be a nurse, tending wounds and giving out medicine and doing health education. I wouldn't 'have a family' but by then my parents, my sisters and their families would all have moved out here with me so I would 'have my family.' I would be doing a few mission trips per year with Operation Smile and by then I would have also gotten Del Taco to open up in Guwahati so life would be ideal. Yes, these are my wildest dreams.

The other part of me wanted to explain that when I was twenty I would have answered "In five years I will be a nurse in a pediatric ICU, working towards my Master's Degree at UCSF, married (happily of course), planning my first child and volunteering on short term medical mission projects." Here is the thing about envisioning myself in the future, not everything came to fruition and that is okay. Don't get me wrong it is good to have goals but goals have to remain open to change and that is what I have learned. I mean hell, forget 10 years ago, 10 months ago I didn't think I would be doing what I am right now (making my nurse education topic of the week, bookmarking the papers I need to print tomorrow to file for incorporation in the state of California for what has somehow become my future non-profit organization and blogging from what is still my bed in India.) It's scary not having a plan. Making things happen organically I guess is just something new to me, I am learning everyday how to grow and shape my future without knowing where each step leads. My parents may not even recognize me anymore, after all I am the one who had every college class planned out before I started my freshmen year. Oh, how things change. 

I meet a lot of people every month coming in and out of the surgical center and this or similar questions get posed almost on the weekly. Sometimes I want to wear a badge that says "I have no idea where I'm going but I'm standing on solid ground." Then I'd break out into a song and dance* to ease the awkward silence that would ensue after I pointed to said badge in response to the visitors enquiry... I still don't know what I would do about the awkward silence that would come after the song/dance unless I just danced myself right out of the room...

All jokes aside, in five or ten years I hope that I am continuing to live a life centered around service in exactly the place I am supposed to be in that moment. I don't know where, I don't know who but I hope I remain as content as I am right now. 

*This is a tactic I have come to use often. For the last month my go to song has been "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof. And yes, I do raise my hands in the air and shake my belly like Tevye. Before that it was "Chikni Chameli" from Agneepath. And yes, I did put my hands on my head and thrust my torso all about. 


  1. You're such a brave soul, I admire you so much!x

  2. That's a tough question for anybody to answer, a hundred times more when you're in a position like yours, where things are constantly changing and moving. Wherever you'll be in five years, I know it'll be awesome!

    1. It is a tough and honestly unfair question! It wasn't like my boss was grilling me, it was just a casual question but I wonder why/how that question ends up in so many interviews. Its like a trap!

  3. I have NEVER known (or cared much for) the answer to that question, but I also have a Wildest Dreams list a mile long :)