Not many questions scare me more than “So, where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. I don’t even know how this became a standard question to ask people. Are we really expected to plan ahead for 5 years, working hard towards that goal and hoping for the best? That sounds sort of terrifying, especially if it doesn’t turned out as planned.
If someone had asked me 5 years ago (and they did) where I thought I’d be today, I can guarantee you it wouldn’t be where I am now. In fact, one woman pushed this point and asked me about my goals and what do I want to do and I should write it all down and wouldn’t it be wonderful? I did my best to stop myself from crying in front of her because no, I couldn’t see how it would be wonderful. I never thought I could have the life I do now. I always expected I’d be that same person, struggling to get by in a life she didn’t particularly enjoy.
Five years ago looked like this for me:
- Working in a school supplies company, ordering text books and stationery for schools.. lugging boxes in a warehouse, faxing off orders
- Living week to week and often running out of money before pay day came around again
- Swimming in debt I never thought I’d pay off
- In a relationship that was unstable, unpredictable and unhappy
- Living in the cheapest 2 bedroom flat I could rent
- Blaming everyone else for the situation/life I had
The flipside of all that is where I am now:
- I’ve worked at 3 companies since that time. Currently in the public service
- I have more money than I need, I make 73% more(!!) than I did back then
- The only debt I have is a house mortgage. I was able to pay off my debt in 12 months and start saving towards a house
- In a relationship that is stable, understanding, fun and happy
- Living in a 4 bedroom house, that we’re paying off as fast as the bank will let us!
- Taking responsibility (or at least trying) for my life and what happens to it
It’s sort of amazing.
A lot of people feel hopeless and that their life won’t get better but it can and if you put your mind to it you can make it happen. The hardest part is making the hard decisions and getting out of/away from bad relationships, whether that be friends, family or romantic. Get away from the people that bring you down. In turn, find people that lift you up and will support you. For me, that was Jarrod. He showed me that there was a better way of living and I was worth more than the situation I was in.
The second hardest part is taking responsibility for your life and accepting that not everything is going to go your way but how you react to that can make all the difference.
So, where will I be in five years? I have no idea! I expect my home and relationship will stay the same, but we’ll be in somewhat less debt. Maybe I’ll have finally worked out what I’d like to do for a job/career and be working in that role, or at least towards it. That’s the hard one, I’ve spent my adult life trying to work out what I want to do and I still haven’t worked it out.
Mostly, I just hope to be happy with the person I become.