Monday, 25 June 2012

The forever looming 5-year plan

Another girls' night get-together...

Most female around their mid-20s mark start to think about the next 5 year stretch to 30. Then the list of things to be achieved begins:
- complete education
- find a job
- make said job a career
- move out/own a place
- make more friends
- find prince charming or figure out if current boyfriend is prince charming
- buy a car
- date prince charming
- find the perfect LBD
- get prince charming to propose
- get married
- start a family...
...and it goes on...
[See below for my strategies]

While each of the above goals is quite significant, having to accomplish the bunch of them in five years makes it quite the daunting challenge [enter quarter-life crisis]. Then there are those who feel that things will happen in due time and challenges should be taken one day at a time. No longer are women forced to be married and start a family by the age of 30. However due to a longstanding cultural convention to do so, it may always be an underlying thought.

The above list is by no means exhaustive nor does all of it need to be done as women find their own alternatives suitable to their own interests - such as being in a happily unmarried relationship.

Finding myself around one of these conversations and allowing my mind to wander got me thinking about my goals and whether or not I would accomplish them by their preferred timelines. While realizing that some of the goals may have already been acheived, there are some that may just require a whole other decade. What I realized it that the whole list isn't as important as the few items that are relevant for life in the here and the now. Prioritize! It truly is a life saver.

Afford yourself sometime to clearly think out your options and your current situation and proceed to make a list from there. Be honest about which of the above goals is the most meaningful to you and work that specific one. Seeing the next 5 years of life becomes a lot more 'deal-with-able' when turning a list of 20 to a list of three to five things. Once those first few priorities are accomplished the rest of the list may have changed ...or not. If not, re-evaluate and strategize. Put yourself in different circumstances/crowds/circles to allow yourself some varied perspectives [and experiences and people - you never know where today's prince charmings hide]. Also some level of trusting that the rest will fall into place is necessary. Also, never close doors that can be opportunities. As naive as that may sound it acutally helps focus on chosen goals and thereby ensures that at least those are achieved.

*Caution: Please close eyes, breathe deeply and VOW TO BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF before moving on further and reading the below recommendations.

Creative ways to deal with the 5 year loom:
- Avoid depressing factors: if you're easily jealous by people's 'good fortune' of trips, marriages, babies, birthdays, etc., avoid facebook or at least cut down on the amount of time you use the social media site.
- Engage and meet people: if you are indifferent to people's 'good fortune' then take to facebook and expand to twitter and tumblr and pinterest to engage in new conversations and feel more connected [check: feeling of making new friends]
- Confident and sexy: dress yourself in a way that makes you feel confident with a hint of sexy. Vow to wear at least one item everyday that makes you feel sexy, whether to work or elsewhere, do it! [check: feelings of confidence increases the ability to converse freely with women and men and creates opportunites for friends and maybe even new partners/charmers. Also feeling sexy surely must have links to staying and feeling young]
- DIY: DIY is in! Have a girls' night-in or date night-in but be creative to make it extra special and also save at the same time [check: increased savings that will hope to one day buy a car or move out/own a place]
Know your interests: read something you're interested in. This will make you enjoy the book and the literary atmosphere thereby subtly urging you to finish school. Also if you are in a program that you enjoy, invovle yourself in the social elements and the practical elements of it in order to remind yourself why you love it so much. [check: complete education]
- Search your interests: find a field that interests and excites you, apply for jobs in that field. If you do not have the credentials to back you up, take a program, volunteer, intern, do something in that field. Network with people in that field. Do not give up on it! [check: finding a job and making said job a career]
- Open Communication: have a talk with him/her - your partner. Find out where they stand in the relationship and if they are on the same page. Open communication about initimate and important issues is important and can solve a lot of issues. If they are not willing to talk even after you've explained how important 'this' is - red flag. [check: getting married to partner/starting family - whatever that may mean to each of you]

Of course all of the above is just advice - easy to give hard to take. But what connects advice to reality is your attitude. Your attitude matters the most. If you want something, do not give up on it. But before that, realize what it is that you want and if it is a priority.

This post is of course just one way of juggling those forever looming 5 year plans, there are a ton more almost perfect for every situation.

What are your five year goals? and how are you dealing with accomplishing them?

Share, please.

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