In Five Years Time

                A few times earlier this year I was asked, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”  I was caught off guard and ended up giving some less than mediocre answer, both times.  Afterward, I went home and I thought about it more…

                The vague answers that I had given implied a lack of ambition, or at the very least a lack of planning.  So, now that I’ve had a few months to think on the question, I think I’m finally ready to give an answer.  It may not be the answer that you’re looking for, it most likely isn’t the answer that the person who asked me was looking for… Hell, for that matter, I’m not even positive that it’s the answer that I was hoping for.  It is however, the only answer I have…

                 Where do I want to be in five years?

                In five years I want to own a home.  And I’d prefer that it not be a “starter home”.  In five years I want to own the house that I’ll be living in for a good portion of my life.  I may not live there forever, but I want it to be more than something to fix up and then turn around and sell a few years later.  I want to get to know my neighbors.  I want to invite people from the neighborhood over for a barbeque in the summer and a turkey dinner in the winter.  I want a yard, with plants, fruit trees, and a small garden.  In five years, I want to own a home, not a house. 

                In five years I want to have financial security.  I’m not saying that I want to be rich, or never have to worry about money again.  I’m simply saying that I want to have enough income that I know I don’t have to wonder whether or not I’m going to be able to pay my bills on time.  I want to have enough income that I can set aside a bit of money to pursue my dreams, to travel, to have hobbies.  Financial security, to me, doesn’t mean being Oprah rich.  It means exactly what it says, have enough money that I can feel a sense of security and stability in my life.  That’s what I want in five years. 

                In five years I want to actually be writing.  Not these blog posts, and not the starts and stops that I so frequently do; getting 15 pages into a story, then never looking at it again.  I want to be seriously writing.  Whether it’s more than a hobby at that point or not, doesn’t matter.  I enjoy the feeling of creating worlds, creating life, and placing the beauty of it all on the page.  I want to help other people see the power of language and imagination.  I want to make people think, I want to make them feel emotions.  I want to move people to laughter and to tears.  In five years, I want to show people the immensity and the majesty of the world though language.

                In five years I want to have submitted an audition tape for Survivor.  Whether I get on or not is another matter, and frankly not as important.  I know it seems silly to most of you, and maybe it is, to an extent.  I think for my sake, I just want to prove that I can follow through on something that I’ve always wanted to do.  In five years I want to have finally reached for that one dream, even if it’s only to prove to myself that I can reach for any of my dreams.

                In five years I want to have traveled more.  I want to have gone to Scotland, Australia, back to Alaska, maybe even to Borneo to meet an Orangutan (since Terry Pratchett died, I’ve been looking in to Orangutans… they’re really quite amazing).  I don’t want to go just to go.  I don’t want to go through the usual tourist traps.  I want to go for the stories.  I want to go off the beaten path and see things that will change me.  I want to experience life in someone else’s world, even if only for a moment.  In five years I want my world to have grown.

                In five years I want to be in love.  I want to be with someone who makes me smile simply by being present.  I want to have someone to share my life with.  I want someone to take dancing, someone to watch bad movies with; someone who, when they’re having a bad day, I can make them feel better just by holding them.  I want someone who will laugh at my terrible jokes and someone who will tell me when I do something stupid, then be there to help me fix it.  I want to be with someone who wants to understand me and who wants to, every once in a while, see the world through my eyes, while also wanting to show me the world through theirs.  I want to be able to cook a nice dinner for someone every Tuesday, because Tuesdays are the worst day of the week and we should have something to look forward to.  In five years, I don’t want to be alone.

                All of these things that I want, all of these hopes, plans, and dreams for five years’ time… will all of these be fulfilled?  No… of course not.  But all of them have one common theme.  That’s what I realized while thinking about this question.  The next time someone asks me that, I could give any one of these answers, or something more professional, or maybe something vague and unsatisfying again.  No matter how I choose to answer it in the future, I’ll know the one thing that I’ll always want… You could take away any or all of the hopes I listed above, as long as you left me with this one…

                In five years, I want to be happy.

                It’s a simple request, and yet at the same time it’s so damned complicated.  When I was a child I thought, “It’s easy to be happy, you just decide to be and then you are!”  Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, that changed.  Happiness is fleeting, it’s rare, and it shows up in one aspect of life just to abandon you in another.  It’s a challenge.  It’s difficult.  And yet, it may be the only goal truly worth striving for, because every other goal is just a step toward this one.

                Like I said at the beginning, this isn’t the answer you were expecting, and probably isn’t what you were hoping to find.  I’m sure it’s not what the person asking me the question wanted to hear.  But when I asked myself the question, this is the answer I came up with, and I don’t care what anyone else wants to hear, because this is the best answer I have.

                So, ask yourself… Where do want to be in five years?


A Reminder

           It’s been a while since I posted anything.  This year has been insane, a lot of changes, all at once.  It’s been wonderful!  But also incredibly stressful.  I’ve missed writing these posts, they tend to help me relax, they allow me to get things off my mind and on to paper instead…
           The last few years I had fallen in to a routine.  The same house, the same job, the same schedule, the same everything, day after day after day after day.  As I’ve documented on here a few times, that sameness and that routine didn’t help my mental state very much, I needed some change… Well, now that the change has come, life is moving pretty fast, and changing along with my life, is my state of mind. 
           I’m not saying that everything is great.  I’m not saying that introducing some change to my life has suddenly caused the sun to start shining, the birds to be singing, and for chimney sweeps to be dancing on roof tops…

With all this change comes a different mental state.  I can’t quite explain it yet.  It’s not bad, but it’s not always good either.  It’s kind of like the power flickering during a storm; the lights are on, everything’s fine, then suddenly for just a couple seconds (or a day or two), everything goes dark.  The lights come back on quickly, but there’s still that question, “what if they don’t?”

Ultimately, these are my issues, they don’t concern any of my readers, and they are certainly problems that I have learned how to handle.  I’m not writing this blog just for me and my neuroses today.  I’m writing it for those of you out there who may need a reminder.

For those of you whose lives have fallen into a routine that spirals downward with no end in sight, or for those of you who feel like you have so much going on that you can’t breathe.  This post is for you. 

Everyone has times when they struggle.  Maybe life feels stagnant and you just want some change, something to spark in your life.  Or maybe you’re at the opposite end of the spectrum and you feel the demands of the world closing in, overwhelming you, and you simply need a break. 

I’m not an expert, and chances are that I don’t know how to help you specifically.  Maybe though, all you need is a reminder… A reminder to:

Try something new.  I know it can be scary, but breaking out of your comfort zone can give you the opportunity to experience something you never would have thought possible.  Each of our lives are full of limitless opportunities, but we sometimes allow ourselves to believe that how things are now, is the only way they can ever be.  We tell ourselves stories and convince ourselves that the job/relationship/home/routine that we are currently in is the only one we could reasonably be in for some reason or another… but it’s not true.  Break the mold, do something new, something that scares you, even if it’s something small.  It may lead to greater things than you realize.

Take time to do the things that make you happy.  When our lives get busy and hectic, it’s easy to let the little things, the things that we don’t view as “essential”, fall in to obscurity.  We shove them aside and say “tomorrow, next week, some other time”.  But those little things, those things we don’t think are important, they’re what make us smile and provide us with an escape, no matter how temporary.  Even though they may seem like a waste of valuable time, don’t forget that your happiness is just as valuable, if not more.

Just breathe.  Life can overwhelm us in an instant, and other times it happens slowly, over years.  When it seems like all is lost, when it seems like there is no end in sight, don’t forget to take time to just breathe.  Go outside, go alone, and let go of it all, even if only for a moment. 

Lean on the people who are there for you.  Your friends, your family, whomever it may be, there are people in your life that care, and that want to help.  Maybe they don’t know how to say it, maybe they assume you know they’re there, or maybe neither of you wants to be the one to speak up.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you may not always get it, but it won’t hurt to ask.  Sometimes all you need is someone to listen to you, and I promise that if you ask, there will be someone there for that. 

Take one step at a time.  Nothing will be fixed overnight.  If you try to solve everything at once and in one fell swoop, you’re only adding to your stress.  I know this may not be what you want to hear, but chipping away at your problems, little by little, is far more effective than balling up everything bothering you and trying to get rid of it all at once. 

Never give up.  I've felt hundreds of times (and still do occasionally) that I'd be better off if I scrapped everything and retreated into a life of quiet solitude.  Sometimes I just want to retreat from one part of life; work, home, friends, finances, etc. Other times I want to leave it all behind and start somewhere new with a clean slate.  But it won't work... that retreat is what the monsters under my bed and in my head want.  As annoying/painful/frivolous as all the little things and connections may seem at the moment, they are the only things that have ever truly pulled anyone out of a downward spiral. So don't run away, don't retreat inside yourself and think that this will pass on its own.  Always strive, no matter how arduous that journey may seem.

                To summarize, we all need reminders now and again, myself most certainly included.  So remember:
Try something new
                Who knows what it could lead to?

Take time to do the things that make you happy
                No matter how small they may seem, they’re important.

                With each breath, the world will slow down for you.

Lean on the people that are there for you
                There are people that care, and they may surprise you.

Take one step at a time
                When climbing a mountain, one step at a time is more effective than trying to jump over the whole thing.

Never give up
                Running from your problems will never solve them, they’ll just follow you in some way.