Why Millennials Are Tired Of Being Asked About Our Plans For The Future

by Lauren Hurst

In a 20-something's world, certain encounters have become so painfully predictable. It's a conversation filler; a placeholder; a “Hey, I haven't seen you in a while. Do you have your sh*t together more than me?" interrogation. We hear it time and time again.

As a student almost done with my undergrad, I've had my share of half-assed, give-you-what-you're-looking-for answers to the infamous question.

Don't get me wrong; I'd love to catch up. This is where I will gladly tell you about how life has sculpted me so far. I will tell you I am happy, and if we talk long enough, I may start to ramble about the ways this whole world has lit a fire in my little soul.

But, please, for the love of God, do not ask me what my plans are for the future. Do not stress me out with your pretty, 10-year plan; do not patronize me with a “better start figuring it out soon” scold. No, I don't really have one, and no, it's not because I am clueless.

I am 20 years old, and I am too busy falling in love with life right now.

It all boils down to the fact people can't stand being in a limbo. The insecurity behind not having a plan makes us uncomfortable. How tragic it is to be so caught up in planning for the future, that somewhere along the way, we develop greedy hearts, leaving us eternally unsatisfied.

We're all somewhat trapped on this hedonistic treadmill, constantly running to the next stage, toward more money, a bigger house, a better love.

I’m not going to launch into some clichéd, romanticized “you only live once” mantra, but I will ask you to start appreciating this, this second.

I want you to let your life become a series of this. There are so many beautiful things that happen on a whim or in-between other stages; they are the byproducts lying outside the lines of your plan.

I know I'm not alone in growing tired of answering this question. It can't be too crazy to think we'd all be a little happier and a little more free if we just let ourselves fall in love with these in-betweens.

Don't get angry next time you get lost. Find the humor in how driving from point A to point B somehow became scrambled into a drunk dyslexic’s alphabet, and now it seems you've discovered every inch of the town, besides your destination.

Roll down the window and notice how the city echoes a little quieter here. Let your hopeless laughter fill its busy streets with accidental purpose.

Fall in love with this in-between.

Don't shut your blinds when the sun breaks on a new morning. Sit on the porch, and watch as it explodes through watercolor clouds. Admire how beautifully temporary it is, hovering halfway. Long for it to slow down as it blurs night into day.

Fall in love with this in-between.

Don't rush love, and don't jump into labels. Hang tightly onto the excitement, the novelty in someone's unfamiliar touch. Let the butterflies linger inside your caged heart just a little while longer.

Time can steal the moment, but it can't change how it once made you feel. So, ignore the anxious expectations, and let the uncertainty ignite you.

Fall in love with this in-between.

It took me a long time, but I recently realized you don't have to live life the way you're expected to. You don’t have to slip quietly into the pretty, cookie-cutter way we grew up seeing as the “ideal.”

Granted, this is enough for some. To those who will feel the greatest satisfaction looking out from your blue shutters past your white picket fence, I salute you. If you long to hopscotch from school to career to marriage and kids, then you have my respect.

But, please remember, this is not for everyone. Don't misjudge my refusal to plan for a lack of direction.

I have the wildest dreams, and for now, I am choosing to dismiss everything else as background noise. I’ve decided to make my life a little less about checking boxes and more about connecting the dots.

It's become about the accidental stumbles upon hidden coffee shops, with wooden chairs and postcard walls. It's missing the morning train, but catching the street musician belting an old favorite song.

It's changing my mind about going out at the last minute, and having the most spectacular night of my life. It's only buying tickets for the main act, but discovering an obsession with the opening band.

It's the nowheres that lead to somewheres, the journey from one constant to the next.

It's all of these things that come from breaking plans — not making them — that make living a little more worthwhile.

I've decided this life is good, and it is happening. It happening right now, and it's operating in ways we cannot predict. So, next time you see me at a party and have the urge to ask what my “plan” is, I will smile, knowing I plan on being your first stretch of a long road trip, bare feet on the hot gravel.

I will be the photograph of the place you love but can't name. I will be the rising sun, the postcard in the coffee shop and all of the things you didn’t expect to find that make you feel alive.

I plan to feel wildly happy and recklessly free living in this state, and that is so much more than enough for me.

So, if you don't mind me asking, what is your future plan?