When we are planning in life, or designing our homes and gardens, it is important to think beyond a five year plan. It is, of course, great to set short term goals to work towards. But it is also important to take the longer view.
No matter how young we are, it is a good idea to think about how our lives will change, and how we can create systems and ecosystems around us that will adapt and change with us and our needs. Building diversity and flexibility into plans can help make sure they suit not just the you of today, but also the you of tomorrow… and beyond.
We all go through different life phases. And though no one’s journey will be exactly the same, we do know that there are certain common patterns about the way a life can go. So whether it means accommodating a new partner, thinking about future children (or grandchildren) that may come along, or planning for a less able, less mobile older age… it is important to think about potential paths and design accordingly.
No one can tell the future, of course. But thinking longer term can help us to build more resilient systems around us. A homestead, smallholding of farm, for example, can be very reliant on the labour and expertise of just one or two people. When they age – are there plans in place? Will they be able to slowly scale back on the work? Have they made sure that their skills are passed on? Much as we don’t like to think about our own human fragility, these are important things to consider.
It is important to think about building resilience and flexibility into systems – and making sure that major life changes can be more easily accommodated.
Of course, thinking long term involves thinking beyond our own lifespans. What kind of world will we leave? What will be bequeathed to future generations? We should think far into the future and really consider the long-term impacts of each and every one of our actions.