According to the dictionary future-proofing is defined as “to make ready to meet potential future requirements, or make use of potential future opportunities.” This is what I am doing in my life right now as J and I seek to make plans for our future after he retires in August 2014. It feels a little like herding cats. There are multiple and varied possibilities; travelling, boating, house purchasing, not house purchasing, renting, world tours…. you get the idea. Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful puzzle to have to solve, but I never knew the future could be dizzyingly rich and varied.
Up until now, it seems, I did not lift my head out of the “work-and-house-owning” more conventional route. I left school and went straight to University, I left there and went straight to work – at no time did it cross my mind to choose to travel or break out of the rut. At 18 or 21 I was not adventurous enough to try this, although folk around me did go off inter-railing, but I did not feel I was missing out (this was the 80s – maybe a bit before gap years became de rigour). My parents did not encourage breaking free, or being different, and I complied with expectation; I married and owned houses, and worked and paid a mortgage… My life was on a straight train track, a single unwavering line towards a retirement that seemed, and indeed was, many years away.
Then I met and fell in love with J. This blew up the straight track I was on and, if I might stretch the metaphor, I think I moved off a train track and on to a sea… a vast swelling ocean that disappeared over the horizon with no markers or landmarks, no obvious direction of travel, and no suggestion that this situation would alter anytime soon. Now life could be anything, or everything, and I would have to take responsibility for my choices consciously and honestly; no more could I rely on conventionality to forge my path, or feel I could devolve the responsibility for living my life to fate or family ties.
So, I face my new future squarely, one with many precious opportunities. The official date it begins is now determined, and it is only 10 months away! Can I future-proof this future? There are many bridges to cross to get there, although it appears we may first have to build these bridges. Most importantly we have to choose where they go, which rivers we cross, how we want to live this life.
Also, we have to do some proper planning. The back to basics, nut and bolt budgeting and project management: What can we afford? What do we want do with our stuff? Where do we want to end up? Again, many questions and not so many answers yet.
I am lucky to have so many choices, and I now feel more adventurous and freer than in any time previously in my life; so much more ready to meet any future requirements. Given this, I intend to make use of any and every upcoming opportunity that takes my fancy in this possibility laden future.