Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

We have all gotten that question before, right? It’s the go-to inquiry of every teacher and employer looking to size up our work ethic, goals, and values. I used to answer it without hesitation because my vision for the future was crystal clear. Just a few short years ago that question seemed easy- I would be done with graduate school (I was working towards my Master’s degree at the time) and working as a Nurse Anesthetist administering anesthesia to critically ill patients in a level 1 trauma center. It was my dream, and I had the right resume and credentials to make it an imminent reality. I knew graduate school was going to be hard, but I took it for granted that I would eventually graduate. I had always been an excellent student, and it never occurred to be that failure was an option.

The uncertainty of MS

Then I lost the feeling in my legs, the ability to use my right hand, and then eventually my vision dimmed too. All of the sudden nothing was clear anymore.

Will I lose my career?

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Laying in that hospital bed wearing a gown instead of a stethoscope I no longer knew if I would be walking in five years, much less be capable of maintaining a high stress career. The uncertainty was frightening. I went from not thinking twice about that simple question, to resenting it.

How will my MS progress?

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Someone recently brought up that question during an interview for a documentary. Nobody had asked me that in a long time, and I was a little surprised that I didn’t flinch. Living with multiple sclerosis means that I now know that life is uncertain, which can be unsettling but it has also taught me a lot about myself and my character.

Where will life lead and what will I create?

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I don’t know, and that’s a wonderful thing! Two years ago I didn’t know that attending a conference held by the MS Society would inspire me to start a blog. When I wrote my first posts I certainly didn’t think anyone other then my own mother would read them, and I never dreamed that it could lead to me writing for other websites and publications. I definitely would have thought you were crazy if you told me that I would have the opportunity to give a TEDx Talk, or speak to thousands of other people living with MS.

Yes, I’m still enthusiastic and interested in anesthesia but had I remained my usually bull-headed self it would have held me back from discovering my passion. I would never have had the privilege being a Nurse Practitioner for other people living with MS, and giving them the same quality of care that I want to receive myself. However, I also never would have guessed that I would be slammed with four major MS relapses in two years, fail to respond to several different medications, or have to walk with a cane in my 20’s. Sometimes while making ambitious plans for ourselves, we fail to brace for life’s impact.

Turning fear into an open mind

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

No longer does that question evoke arrogance, or fear. I know there will be unimaginable challenges and triumphs ahead, and I want to face each one with an open mind. So now I simply smile knowingly to myself and say, “I guess we will find out soon enough”. I’m sure it will be one heck of a ride.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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