Creating a 5 Year Plan – Part 1

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In five years, I’ll be nearing 38. Not old, by any means, but old enough to have accomplished a few things. From where I’m sitting, it doesn’t seem like I’m going to be that close to achieving any of my dreams at the rate I’m going. That being the case, I’ve decided to draft my 5 Year Plan. After reading multiple articles on the subject, it looks like the first thing I need to do is define my overall life goals, then start breaking them down. So today we’re going to start at the very beginning and sort out the overall life goals, then move on from there bit by bit. You with me?

First, here’s a list of things I think 85-year old me will be sad if I didn’t do:

  • See the world. I’ve seen a bit, but it’s far too early in my life to stop traveling. In fact, if I were able to figure out how, I’d be going on trips around the world until I’m old and decrepit…and hopefully then, too.
  • Go on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. This is technically part of “See the world,” but it’s deeper and more personal than just taking a vacation or learning about local architecture, so it gets its own bullet point.
  • Work in event coordination. I love to organize things and people, and I really “get” event logistics. Looking back over the last few years, the times I’ve been happiest are all centered around setting up events and making sure they run smoothly. To even get started in thinking about this kind of career move, I’d need to take care of the next bullet point…
  • Get my debt under control. It’s going to kill me. Literally – the stress will kill me if I don’t get it under control, and the #1 thing that’s on my mind 24/7 is student loan, credit card, and tax debt.
  • Stop feeling so dependent on everyone else. This one is hard to explain, but I guess what I’m really saying is that I want to be comfortable in my own skin, and not feel like I need everyone else’s approval to feel like I have a right to be here. It would be amazing to be the person that other people respected and looked to for advice and love, if only just sometimes. I always feel like I’m on the outskirts of the conversation, the edge of the in-crowd. I’d love to have the self-confidence to start feeling like I’m important, too.
  • Sing in a decent band. I have no illusions of grandeur on this point. I just want to sing with a group of musicians who like each other for the most part, and who can manage to have fun on stage together a couple of nights a week for any length of time longer than 6 months.
  • Be known as a writer. I know that I have several books in me, but I also know how difficult it is to get published AND noticed these days. I don’t want to win the Hugo or anything – I just want for people to know me for my writing. Right now I’d settle for a popular blog.
  • Make spiritual practice more central to my life. If life is about finding Truth, I should be seeking it out with more energy and consistency.
  • Build something solid and lasting with the right life partner.
  • Have children. This one is open to interpretation, I think. I’d really love to have children of my own, but I’m not opposed to adoption or fostering, given the proper resources. Also, if I never end up getting married, or if it becomes clear that children aren’t within my scope of physical or financial capabilities, maybe it just means moving closer to my friends’ children so I can be a spectacular aunt.
  • Be responsible for my carbon footprint / impact on my environment.
  • Stop putting so many chemicals in / on my body by choice. Obviously I can’t help everything that I’m exposed to, but I can do something.
  • Take care of my body, so that it’s in great condition for as long as possible. I deserve to be able to be physically active and pain free. It’s more than a right, though – it’s a requirement for a long life, full of adventure, where I can be present and active with my loved ones.
  • Learn to like food. Real food. Learn to eat vegetables and fruits and really like it, and to seek out fruits and vegetables for every meal. I’m already bored with this statement, but I’m pretty sure that it’s intrinsic to a bunch of the other goals on this list.
  • Have a house / condo / living space of my own. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It just needs to be a place that I can live in when I’m old and unable to work any longer.
  • Have a reliable method of transportation that is not my own two feet. Although my own two feet are a perfectly great way to get around 90% of the time, and I hope to be using them for many years to come. But seriously, if I can’t afford to buy my own damn car at some point over the next 50 years, I’m going to be pissed.

That’s enough for now. Tomorrow I’ll work on narrowing in on the sub-goals for each (or maybe just a few) of these major life achievement-type goals. In the mean time, does anyone out there have any ideas or helpful hints for putting together a detailed 5 Year Plan? Tweet me at @compassandquill. I’d love to know how you created your own plan, and if there are any resources you’d suggest. Thanks!

Click here to read my next post about taking a personal stab at creating a 5 year plan.

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