Monday, 30 September 2013

The Five Year Plan

The other day I scared the shit out of myself. As I was contemplating life on the walk to work I started thinking about how I should probably have a bit more of a plan in place for the future; just a few key goals. Then I thought about having a five year plan - initially excellent, until I realised in 5 years I would be 28, an age which is undoubtedly adult.

I only have a few core goals, one of which is move to a more central London location and do my 10 years here and get out. I'm already one year down and I've just signed for another year in my flat bringing it to two! Then all these thoughts of kids, work and home ownership popped into my brain, a non-stop flow of future-panic. Normally, aside from home ownership, none of these worry me on a day to day basis. I think I'm only worried about buying a home as I'm constantly being bombarded with how hard it is for first time buyers. So for all of them to surface in one sitting took it out of me. I had to stop thinking, and decided to just focus on smaller month-by-month goals which are more attainable and less scary. How people even being to contemplate five year plans is beyond me, there is so much to do and so little time!

On the weekend when gathered with friends, they raised the fact they had been talking about the long term future as well and freaking out about it. Perhaps we are all experiencing quarter-life crises? I think I definitely am as I constantly feel as if time is running out. I get annoyed at myself for always looking further and further ahead rather than realising how I feel in the present. Maybe it is because I still feel like I'm 18, I mean I'm forever in denial about how long Lee and I have been together and still see myself as the new girl at work (18 months down the line). It is probably time for me to start thinking about being a grown up - just thinking, not doing mind you!

I guess all I wanted to say was, kudos to those out there with a five year plan. I gave it a go, failed to even think rationally about it and embarked on a mini quarter-life crisis. Does anyone have any tips for me? WILL I EVER BE A GROWN UP?


  1. I had one of these panics yesterday! My brother is 18 months younger than me, and has been with his girlfriend for 6 years, owns a home with her, and recently was able to impulse buy a Nissan Qashqai. It really stresses me out that he's got all these things, and I'm still just living at home with mum. Not ideal, eh?! But then I realised- I don't WANT to be as grown up as that! I actually do still have a lot of years left to do the marriage/ kids/ house thing. And maybe I'll never get there- but I'm starting to think that if we plan these things, it's actually more likely to make us unhappy, as we'll panic more when things don't go as we'd hope. Does that make sense!? Either way, I'm starting to think that it's OK to just go along with it sometimes- planning is nice, but I think it's OK that we don't always know where things are heading :) xx

  2. I think (judging from my own experiences and from reading other peoples' 'there's not enough time!' posts) that this is something that a lot of people in their 20s experience. I had a rather large freak-out in June (and subsequently wrote a big old post about it) mostly about whether there'll be time to do all the things I want to do before having kids, getting on the property ladder etc, in short, being a proper adult. 4 months later and I've calmed down a lot largely thanks to the fact that my boyf and I now have a 3 year plan. It's not the most concrete plan but it's something to look forward to! It basically involves getting married next year and then saving for a house, but after that? Who knows! I don't think planning works for everyone, and if taking life month by month works for you then that's great, but the plan calms me immensely. It also means that I CAN focus on the present and really appreciate all the great things that are happening to me now. I know that my goals in the 3 year plan can't be achieved in a day or though worrying about them. For now I'd recommend having a bloody good time in your 20s (especially in London, as a fellow londoner I'm obv biased) there's so much to do and see - serious adult stuff can wait :) x

  3. oh gosh I've been having a similar freak-out all morning, and now here you are with your post..very serendipitous! I've been having a similar quarter life crisis since i've just graduated from a masters that may be useless, worried will never have a job and wondering if i'm in the right city and in general what am I doing with my life?.. I do think it's normal to question ourselves though, if anything it means that we're consciously trying to stay on track (which I see as a good sign) I calmed myself down by baking a ginormous banana and walnut cake (i find baking enormously therapeutic) I guess what i'm trying to say is - distract yourself by doing something productive, be it a hobby or your work and take it as it comes. Obviously don't just float along, have an idea of what you want out of life, and slowly you will steer yourself towards it. It's a whole lot easier now that you have a job and a support system, you have the resources to make changes (should you so desire)'s a little bit trickier for those who don't. (and there will always be someone better and worse off than you) I guess my advice would be, save a little, write down your dreams (but don't get caught up in a timeframe) and don't forget to think about how brilliant it is that you made it to where you are now. It's super easy to get caught up in what we want to have rather than what we already have.. you're doing great! (I mean look at this blog too! not everyone has the talent to write, and the dedication to keep such a thing should be proud!) x go eat some cake! :)

  4. Plans were made to be broken and age isn't really a thing anymore. I mean the cast of 90210 were like 24 and up playing 16 year olds. What to teenagers even look like now? So many celebs didn't hit the big time till after they were 40 ex. Jane Lynch, Jon Hamm, Kathryn Joosten. Kristen Wigg was way old and then she wrote Bridesmaids! And Tina Fey was old before 30 rock too and that show was worth the wait. Whack on thirteen going on thirty and enjoy the time where your boobs are in the right place and your forehead is smooth.

  5. 5 year plans are SO OVERATED. They suck the joy out of everything.

    Joy is where you are right now, the present moment.
    Goals for the month, maybe even two months are fine and manageable but anything more like that is too much for me.
    My moto is dream away, but don't plan too hard. Life has a way of throwing curve balls and if you have all these grand plans, the disappointment can be too much to bear.

    I am LOVING your blog by the way, and thank you SO much for your comment on my post. I went to reply but you are a noreply commenter and so couldn't (pls change it!! would be cool to email!)...

    And a hot toddy is one of these:

  6. Listen up lady, I could write you an essay on this.

    I totally know where you're coming from, but I'm a firm believer that 5 year plans don't work, having made several myself and deviating from all of them for various life-led reasons, so you certainly shouldn't freak out about not having/sticking to one. At the ripe old age of 32, (yes, I am out of the ageing process closet, I can hear your gasps of horror from here, and don't get me wrong, turning 30 was a big existential kick in the balls), take it from me that long term plans can't be set in stone, because however much you make to do lists, you can't predict the future.

    I was in a good and well paid career and was very much on track to being settled down with 2.4 children, driving a volvo estate with a soccer mom whistle around my neck in my mid twenties, but then I decided I wasn't going to be happy in my career in the long-term, quit, travelled, soul searched and went back into work at a lower level in an industry I love, and have built the same thing back up again. Some of my friends my age have children, some don't, some are married, some are on, some still watch American teen drama shows, some watch Downton (I watch both), some own houses, some still rent, but whatever their position in life and however grown up or not grown up they perceive themselves to be, they're all still the same people they've always been and they've all reached relatively happy places.
    I'm not saying don't make plans, if you want to do something, plan to do it and go for it, but don't beat yourself up or panic if other parts of life change things slightly along the way.

    On a side note, no I haven't seen the Olivia Wilde/Tom Hanks photo, I will google this in a completely non stalkery way. Olivia Wilde was tweeting about BREAKING BAD the other night, it looks like all the cool kids were tuning in...xx

  7. I think everyone has a quarter-life crisis, I know I definitely do when it's near my birthday! The problem is with life is that you can plan all you like, but so many things unexpected happen, good or bad which you can never plan for. Good luck though, it sounds like a good plan and you definitely sound much more grown up then I do! XxxX

  8. I have these kind of panics a lot lately especially since I'm currently unemployed, thinking about when will I ever get to move out from home etc. Scary stuff!

    Lauren | Bits and Bobs xx

  9. Don't worry! When we are younger sometimes we set these unrealistic goals or our five year plans and get discouraged when they don't seem to happen. I say live life every day like it's a brand new start. Don't focus on the number, just enjoy the ride :)
    xo TJ


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