As the FIFA World Cup inches closer, I find myself wondering where the past 4 years went and what I have accomplished (or failed to accomplish) in that given time. Thanks to Lebanon being a football-crazed country that doesn’t participate in the World Cup but cheers for every other flag, I tend to make “FIFA Four-Year Plans” instead of Five-Year Plans when it comes to projecting into the future and trying to figure out where my chips will fall and which pigeons will eat them.
Two mondials ago, in 2006, I had just graduated from high school and, unknowingly, I was about to get my first taste of war in Lebanon. Four years after that, I had a biology degree, experienced my first heartbreak, and was a year into getting another degree in a completely unrelated field. I think I had a clearer vision of where I wanted to go at 22 than when I was 18. When you’re in your early late-twenties, the four years leading up to that bring about a lot of self-discovery and character-building. Besides that personal development, you also get bigger doses of reality and start to question yourself more and more. There is a simplification process that happens. Priorities change and your perspective becomes more focused because you realize who and what is important and worth your time & effort. Then, you jump to the next phase: where will I be when the next Mondial rolls around? When I’m 30 and my baby sister is graduating from high school? Where do I want to be and how do I get there?
2014 is the first Four-Year Plan Milestone that feels like a turning point considering I am now a semi-functional adult, caught in that young professional web where my peers are either engaged, married with kids, all-nighting for higher education degrees, or de-stressing with a beer on a sidewalk in Mar Mikhael. In the last four years, I graduated again, had a brief stint as a redhead, joined the workforce, traveled to the Far East, and started this blog. I have fewer acquaintances and more friends. I also tweet and have two tattoos. I have yet to build a Beirut metro, have a bake and shark in Trinidad, or drive a Maserati in the Autobahn. Hell, I didn’t even ride the Teleferique like I said I would while in Jounieh during the ’06 war. Check back with me on these in 2018.
In the last eight years, I have learned that things don’t always go according to plan and, sometimes, it’s better to have a general direction rather than a solid strategic course of action that has no room for compromise. You need to be flexible so you’re open to other opportunities you don’t foresee. Some people say, “don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.” Just don’t forget that maybe what you want now could lead you to something even better than what you want most.
So where were you 4 years ago and where do you want to be 4 years from now?