Do I have a "Default Future?"

3 years ago

I recently met Mallie, the genius behind The Off-Road Millennial.  She has such a cool story, and to top it off, she produces a podcasts, which entertains me on my daily commute.

In one of her recent episode, she talks about the “default future” – the future that will fall upon you if you remain stagnant.


The “default future” scares me.  A lot!


Now, I’m from the Midwest.  In the Midwest, there is a stereotypical image of a Midwestern girl: a teenage/early 20s mom, probably not-college-educated, and married (divorced???) to her baby-daddy.  Growing up, I didn’t exactly know about this stereotype, but I did know that it was a life that I DID NOT want.  I wanted to be free.  I wanted to explore.  Also, I did not want to live in the Midwest.

[Personal story: in elementary school, I proudly told my BFF Brooke, “When I grow up, I’m moving to Oregon!!”  I didn’t know anyone in Oregon or know anything about the state, but it was the furthest place I could think of.  Apparently, I had never heard of Hawaii…or Alaska…or China.]

I knew that my “default [Midwestern] future” was, in my opinion, dismal, so I got the heck out of there.  I’ll admit, I didn’t exactly make the best choice in my departure route, but that course did get me out of the Midwest, so I suppose it was decently successful.


Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about my future.  (Thanks, Mallie!)  What will it look like?  Where will I live?  Where will I work?  Will I have a partner?  Did I make a huge mistake by letting my last partner slip away?  I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know that if I remain stagnant and allow my “default future” to drift upon me, then I’ll be unhappy and choose another poor departure route.


In an honest effort to avoid a “default future,” I’m doing my best to make thoughtful decisions about my next steps.  I’m pondering my future in graduate school and planning my escapeexit route from my 9-5.  I’m considering what type of personal relationships and partnerships are most important to me.  I’m trying to figure out how to live an authentic life that allows for my dreams to flourish without sacrificing my savings account or reliability.


I’m so thankful I met Mallie, and that her podcast inspired me to take a closer look at my life and into the direction in which it is headed.


What does your “default future” look like?



Amber is the Strategist, Coach, and Blogger behind Climb Out of The Cubicle.  Follow her on Twitter.

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