I was reading The Eighty-Twenty this morning, catching up on my favourite blogs while attempting to get my brain functioning on some higher level. I read something there that gave me pause: "Most of us could probably draw out a general idea of where we'd like to be in five years.” Here's the full post, if you're interested.
Can most of us do this? Are the lot of you walking around with the next five years already planned out? Should I have a five year plan?
I can remember when I was a girl grown-ups asking me what I wanted to "be" when I was grown. Mostly what I wanted to be was a grown-up. Oh, certainly I'd given thought to my dream career; I always wanted to be a writer and a psychologist. But I didn't plan it out very well.
I dropped out of high school and got a job instead of a diploma, got married young, and spent the first few years of adulthood struggling (in a good way) through the challenges brand-new grown-ups face: pay the rent or buy those gorgeous Italian leather sandals?*
I didn't have a plan for the next five years of my life.
Then life exploded on me: my husband died, I eventually got remarried, I started (but didn't finish) college, and I still didn't have a plan for the next five years.
I spent the next few years sort of just existing. Life was normal; solid, stable, mostly boring in a way that wasn't terrible. Then I moved, which completely changed my routine and my day-to-day life. I was happy for awhile, but I still didn't have a five year plan.I had a crisis of marriage, got divorced, got remarried, joined the LDS church, moved again, lost my job, and now I'm happier than ever but I still don't have a five year plan.
Nobody has asked me where I see myself in five years since I was about 17; I didn't think much about it then (after all - I have my whole life to sort that out) and I haven't much thought about it since. For as long as I can remember I have lived my life trying to navigate the present moment until I can escape to something more desirable... an awful step-father, high school, the work week, a dead husband, a boring life.
I am no longer running away from undesirable circumstances so I suppose I should have a go at that whole five-year plan thing. So, here’s where I’d like to be in five years:
- Sealed to my husband
- Published - something, anything
- Better at scripture study - ideally by then I will have read the entire standard works of scripture at least three times
- In a new car
- As debt-free as possible
- In a new house, maybe even something with land and goats (squee)
- Skilled enough at sewing that I can make myself decent clothing
- In something close to my best physical shape
Some of these things will happen sooner than later, or that is my hope. Some may take longer, some might exceed the 5-year mark, and some may fall off my list entirely and be replaced by better goals. I feel like that's okay with me, as long as I'm working toward something valuable. I don’t exactly feel like I’ve wasted the last 18 years of my adulthood, but a small part of me wishes that I’d spent less time escaping my present moments and more time improving myself.
How about you? Do you have a plan for the next five years? Did you make a plan for the last five years? If so, how did you do?
*In case you're wondering I do have a pair of shoes that cost roughly what a single-room apartment rented for in 1996.