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My 7-year plan, 7 years later

by Megan

Spring 2021 felt so far away, 7 years ago. Even just saying “twenty-[anything]” felt so odd. Yet here we are!

7 years ago, to the day, I published a blog post about my “7-year plan”, and since then I’ve kept it at the forefront of my mind as life moved forward. It became a 6-year plan as the first year passed. Then a 4-and-a-half year plan. A 2-year plan. Then finally, today.

I thought it would be fun to look back at my original plan and see where I’m at with the goals I set, which plans became reality, and how life is different from how I pictured it would be.

Let’s take a step back into 2014…

My 7-year plan revisited

When I published my original post, it was the day before my 30th birthday. Our kids were 5, 3, and almost 1. Daniel and I had been married for over 8 years.

Tenney family 2014
Our family in 2014

Tomorrow I turn 37. Our kids are 12, 10, 7, and 4. Daniel and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary last year.

Tenney family 2021
Our family in 2021

Makin’ babies

The reason my plan was a 7-year plan, and not a 5-year plan or a 10-year plan, was because we had three of our kiddos and were starting to think about when we wanted to have our fourth. We knew this would be our final baby, and the plan was to have her (oh yeah, I said “her” — after having boy-girl-boy, my heart was pretty much set on rounding things out with another girl) in the spring of 2016. That meant that she would start Kindergarten in 2021, in 7 years, and that would mark the end of my phase of a mostly-stay-at-home mom of little ones. I figured once all my kids were in school all day, I could look into a new phase of working full-time, or at least increasing my schedule and dedicating time to growing this site as well.

How did that turn out?
We got our girl! My sister-in-law said, “I think you willed it into being.” Couldn’t help wanting what I wanted! Having two boys and two girls has been a total blast and I’m grateful for them every day.

Welcoming baby Melody

She took a little longer than we expected and arrived on September 9, 2016 — but within the cutoff date to start Kindergarten later this year! A little on the young side, but she’s a smart little cookie. Reads like a champ and does first and second-grade math already.

Melody at Magic Kingdom
Melody in 2021

We know that because…we’ve been homeschooling for the past three school years! Which leads me into…

Life on the road

When I wrote the original post, 7 years ago, I didn’t expect any major changes in our lifestyle…but they came! To be more accurate, we chose them.

In 2018, we took life on the road — sold our house, put our things in storage, and set out on an adventure that was supposed to last about 9 months as we traveled the US, with the plan to settle down on the east coast. We had such a great time that we decided to extend our travels overseas.

Traveling Tenney Family
Taking life on the road

We booked flights and secured an Airbnb in the heart of downtown London…for April 2020. Needless to say, those plans got canceled because of the pandemic. But we continued to travel the US, visiting 45 states, and now we plan to head overseas in late summer 2021.

Career changes

7 years ago, I was working for my dad’s software company. It was a really great setup for us. 2 days a week, I would take whichever kids were still at home over to my parents’ house where my mom would watch them while I worked. It brought in a nice additional part-time income for our family, without having to deal with daycare, and my mom got to spend lots of quality time with her grandkids. My thought was, once my kids were all in school, I could start working more hours for my dad, potentially even full-time.

How did that work out?
Once we started traveling, I bumped up to 3 days a week working for my dad, to compensate for the fact that Daniel was now working part-time while we traveled, and we were just barely able to make it work, financially.

A couple of months into our travels, however, I applied to work full-time remotely in communications for a digital advertising company. I had unknowingly curated the perfect background for this job over my previous 10 years of blogging and learning everything I could about the online publishing industry, and now I’ve worked for them for over 2 years and love my job!

Back in the day, we used to joke around about switching positions and having Daniel stay home with the kids while I went to work, but I wanted to be home while my little ones were still little. But now we’ve actually made that swap, and we love it!

Working really suits me, I couldn’t ask for a better company culture, and the timing was just perfect because, although we hadn’t yet hit the year when all of our kids would be in school, we were traveling and homeschooling. Daniel was working some mornings and evenings and able to handle the majority of the kids’ schooling, so it worked out. Plus, he’s been a total champ about meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking, and — truth be told — he does it way better than I ever did!

Office dreams

And then, one of the major inspirations for the initial post, my desire for an office. I have to laugh now at how low a bar I had set for myself. And in fact, long before we started traveling, I set up various office spaces in our house. Yes, it was just a corner, then part of my closet, then a converted patio with a slant that made my chair roll away from the desk — certainly not the gorgeous office inspiration that I posted in that initial post (or this one) but it made me pretty happy at the time!

closet office
My closet office — not too shabby!

How did that work out?
These days I travel with a folding table and occasionally get spoiled with an actual desk at the various Airbnbs we stay in. My hopes and dreams for a home office are put on hold for the moment as we live our bigger dream of traveling the world. No complaints here! But sometimes I still daydream about that office that I fully intend to have when the time is right.

A new 7-year plan?

In 7 more years, it will be May 22, 2028. It’ll be the day before my 44th birthday. Our kids will be 19, 17, 14, and 11. Daniel and I will have been married for over 22 years. Whew, those are some big numbers all around!

I’m not sure I want to specifically target that year for a plan, but I can definitely make some goals and predictions.

As I said, I love my job. I’ve already had an incredible opportunity to move up in the company, and I hope and expect to further that growth in the future. We’ve got a good start on our retirement savings, but for now, I’m more than happy to work and grow in my career.

This blog has gotten a little quiet lately. Part of that has been work and travel keeping me busy, but also because I started another site and course: Family Gap Year Guide, where I share about our travel adventures and teach other families how they can take life on the road and travel full-time like us!

I still really enjoy working on both sites, so even if they never explode into international acclaim, it’s fun for me.

I’d love to celebrate our 20th anniversary in a big way. Since Daniel tracked down my wedding dress for our 10th anniversary, maybe for our 20th we’ll renew our vows! On the beach. At Beaches.

Oh and speaking of my wedding dress…yeah I can totally wear it again. That’s another big change from the past 7 years that I haven’t yet mentioned. I had gastric sleeve surgery and lost 75 pounds! I feel better than ever — so much more energy, and clothes shopping is a total joy again.

Megan by floral background
Megan in 2021

I want the kids to have great educational opportunities and see them pursue their dreams. Carter, who is almost 13, does schoolwork far beyond his grade, and he’s interested in the possibility of jumping ahead a year, finishing high school early, or completing a dual enrollment program. His dream is to be a Disney Imagineer, so he’ll go to college for engineering and may try to do the Disney college program or get a job working at the parks in Florida.

Carter the Imagineer
Carter the future Imagineer

The other three kids are similarly years ahead in school, so we’ll see what happens when/if we put them back into public school. Taking such a giant leap and starting to travel full-time taught us that it’s okay to live life outside-the-box. It’s when you let go of the ordinary that the extraordinary becomes possible!

3 smart kiddos
The other three smarty-pants

What else?
I’d like to have a nice home in the southeast US, preferably within walking or biking distance of the beach. I want an adjustable bed. I’ll take a flat-screen TV. Maybe a home gym. Hot tub would be cool. I think we can raise the bar that much.

And yeah, Megan from 2014, I’m gonna get you that office.

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