What should your life look like, five years from now?
The question hit me in the chest. I’ve been suicidal most of my life. I never planned to live past my twenties and yet, I am a few months shy of my 27th birthday.
The thought of making long-term goals is nauseating to me.
Goals require time. Patience.
To consciously decide on where I want to be, five years from now, means that I am no longer accepting my present predicament.
I am making the choice to still be alive, in those five years.
That’s some scary shit.
Creating the Five Year Plan
Since it can be overwhelming to look at the big picture, I split my Five Year Plan down into five categories: Home life, work/career, physical/mental health, what I look like, my relationships to other people.
This category includes where you want to live, what your home looks like, and who lives in that home with you.
For me, there was a little bit of conflict. My husband is a country man that needs to live in the middle of the woods and be surrounded by acres and acres of trees. I want to live back in Japan, where I felt that my mental health was thriving.
I decided that we could work towards living in the woods, but I’d like to be close to the beach (within 2 hours driving distance, if I want to take the weekend away).
Finances will also go into this category.
Where do you work? What are your coworkers like (if any?) What is the physical location of where you work?
What do people know you as, in the work environment? What is your salary?
I know that my life looked really bleak when I thought about what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to write, but I didn’t know where to begin. College is out of the questions because I didn’t enjoy my first experience or the debt that it brought.
Long-term, I am hoping to run my own magazine in living unconventionally well and exploring the stories of people who broke through crazy obstacles. Yknow, inspirational stuff.
I want this to be sufficient enough so that my husband wouldn’t have to work and we can be supported through my writing.
Of course, this isn’t something that is done overnight, but surely, it’s possible over the course of five years.
Everything to do with your body and mind (even spirit, if that’s part of your life) goes in this category.
Do you swim daily? What does your diet look like?
Do you seek therapy or are in a place where you no longer need therapy? Are you more in control of panic attacks and splitting less?
Remember, setting these goals are more about exploring the possibilities of what you’d like to become, rather than wondering if you’re able or deserving of reaching it.
What you look like
This category is for how you perceive yourself but also how others perceive you.
How do you dress? Where is your confidence level? What are your personality traits?
What do people say about you? What comments are people leaving on your selfies?
Put down what you want and what you are striving for, not what you currently feel about yourself or what people are currently saying about you.
Your relationships to other people
Are you married? In a long-term relationship? Happily single?
Don’t forget your friendships too! Do you have a best friend that you get a latte with twice a week? Maybe you’re a core member of your local band.
Write down the type of people that you’d like in your life and the roles that they play.
I know for me, I wanted less people who were interested in gossip and ganging up on others that they don’t like. In the past, I’ve surrounded myself with cliquey people because I wanted to feel like I belonged somewhere.
Looking forward, they were always toxic environments for me because if they were crap talking about others, surely they would crap talk me as well. I want friends who are patient, flawed (but willing to acknowledge these flaws and grow with them as I grow with mine), loves thrillers, and also has children around the age of my children. My friends always mention how funny I am and they dig my writing.
I know it’s popular around mom groups to drink lots of wine, but my group of friends don’t drink much and when we do, it’s a splash of Bailey’s in the coffee.
Yes, it’s so specific, but I believe that I (and you) are deserving of friends we vibe with.
Now pin it!
This is the fun part.
So you’ve written down everything that you want in your life in five years. That’s great and all, but to really bring it to life, you have to be able to physically see it.
Go on Pinterest and create a Five Year Plan board.
Then go and pin everything that you can find that relates to your Five Year Plan! That means, pin your dream home. Pin the location. Pin any pets you’ll have. Pin quotes that reflect the mood your life is.
If you need a little inspiration to get you started, click here to see my Five Year Plan board.
Using the Five Year Plan
Borderline Personality Disorder means that I’m often impulsive.
I’m not sure what I want until I want it, and then I am obsessively chasing it until I realize I really don’t want it after all.
My life gets turned over and over because of my impulsivity and it’s affected my relationships, business, and my finances.
When I feel that tick of impulsive obsession, I ask myself- Does this fit with my Five Year Plan?
I welcome only actions and impulses that bring me closer to achieving my long-term goals. If I must live with my disorder, then I will redirect these feelings and quakes to something productive.
This was definitely not an exercise that I did in a few minutes. It took me several weeks to think about what I really wanted out of life.
I was tempted to trash the whole Five Year Plan idea, several times, but during those moments, I stepped away and came back to it later.
Choosing to live is uncomfortable, especially if you lived day to day with the expectation that you will die at any second.
If you’re struggling to finish this exercise, no worries. Walk away and come back to it when you’re ready. It may take a few weeks, like it did for me, or even a few months or years. No worries about rushing it or forcing it.
Always, I’m rooting for you.