I don't remember having a life plan until I was about 13 (although I'm sure my Mum will correct me when she reads this). At the time, I had just decided to abandon my dreams of studying maths and physics at Oxford and following in my Mother's footsteps and had decided to go with my creative streak instead. I wanted to be a fashion designer and travel the world with my designs for sensible, but funky clothing. At this point, I KNEW I wanted to get married in a dress made out of Crunchie wrappers.
By the time I was 15 and planning my higher education, I'd decided that I wanted to be an advertising copywriter – a plan that I pretty much stuck with right up until I got to university where I was taking Media Studies. When I started Uni I was interested in news journalism, and I discovered a skill for photography. I attempted a few weeks work experience with a local newspaper and a portrait studio – I hated both of them! Photography was definitely meant to be a hobby for me, not a job!
By 21, at the end of university, I had changed my mind about my future career a million times but kept coming back to marketing. When I left, I got myself a job as a marketing administrator in the City for an IT recruitment firm (for administrator see 'making cups of strong coffee for over-boozed team-members'). That summer I finally got together with the guy I'd had my eye on for years and life was looking good. It was at this point in my life that I promised myself that I would have kids before I was 30 – it gave me time to achieve stuff (unspecified), gave me something to look forward to, and ensured that I wasn't going to be an ancient mummy! I just had to wait for my other half to finish university himself and then we could get married (at Silverstone racecourse, in a yellow wedding dress), settle down and build a family together... right?
One day I found myself running a stand at a graduate recruitment fair and had a complete change of plan. Here were people the same age and background as me earning three times as much: this was not right! I enrolled on an online software development course, got accepted for a masters degree in computing at the same university as my other half and was sure that in 12 months time I'd be working in the IT department of a big bank, bringing in the big bucks! I gave up work, moved in with my boyfriend and took out a huge loan to cover my fees.
12 months later, and at 23 years old, I was actually working for the 3rd largest software company on the planet. I was beginning to worry about the 'settling down' part of the life plan as my other half now lived about 100 miles away and had his heart set on a career that involved spending large parts of the year on remote pacific islands... the kinda place where there is not much call for enterprise software developers.
The next change in my life plan came in summer 2003 when I was 24. If you've read my contribution to the favourite photo meme you'll know that this is when I got together with Mr. B. I was on a training course in the USA and I abandoned my poor old boyfriend in favour of a work colleague (the ex didn't know it yet because he was away on a remote Caribbean island!) I had a really good feeling about it – I guess I knew then that I was going to be the future Mrs. B!
By 25 I was renting a house with Mr. B and we were both vaguely hankering after a job that would bring in enough money for us to afford to buy our first house together. I planned to find a job in IT consultancy.
At 26, we both had jobs in IT consultancy and bought our first house. At 27 I decided that if I was going to remain sane, I needed to give up the daily trek into the city. I found a relaxed job, close to home and finally got that banking role I'd planned for - I write software used by the world's biggest financial bods. The life plan now was to save up for a wedding and to start making babies! We got married when I was 28 (I didn't wear a yellow dress, or one made from Crunchie wrappers and no, it wasn't at Silverstone racecourse). Last year, three weeks before my 30th birthday, we had our first child. Phew, just made it before my self-imposed deadline!
The life plan now? Well, from my goals for 2010, you'll know that the plan is to find a new house which kinda leads on to breeding a bigger family! I plan to work for as long as I can balance it with family because I enjoy what I do and want to be the best at it. I'm aiming for a management role. In a few years time when our family is bigger and life has settled down a little (does it ever once you have kids?), both myself and Mr. B would like to live abroad for at least 12 months. We haven't decided where, or how we'll fund it, but we'd love to give our kids the opportunity to soak up a totally different culture.
So, that's my life story in a nutshell! If you would like to join in the meme, go ahead. But to keep things flowing, I tag the following people (because I think there will be some very revealing stories about how their life plans have changed over the years):-
Claire at The Life Of The Twenty-Something Mum
Hayley at Single Motherhood Challenges