In five years I will be 30. That thought alone is enough to bring on utter panic. Factor in all the unknowns: Where will I be living? When am I going to have kids? Will I still be on the same career path?...and alas, I now have a full-blown crisis. So I decided to jot down some plans to help me manage and prioritize my way through the next few years. Hopefully--please, God--having a plan will make the next five years a little easier. And they say you can't plan life...
Throughout this planning process, it's smart to place things in order of importance. What ambitions do you have that you will absolutely kick yourself over if they are not met by age 30? Personally, I'm in a place right now that my career comes first. So my first entries look like this:
1. Advance my career with a position that values my talents and where my fabulous taste in fashion is put to good use.
2. Work in an environment that promotes my well-being.
3. Write the book I've always wanted to write.
By knowing what I'm looking for in an employer and what I have to offer as an employee, I will be able to market myself accordingly. Also, the book will help me hone my writing skills--a professional goal--while exploring hobbies that are personally fulfilling.
Next, think about things like health, lifestyle management and finances. Some may want to go back to school, buy a home, or eat eight servings of vegetables a day....you get the idea. Keep in mind that once you have the basic plan, you can work out the specifics later. Mine are something like this:
4. Run a marathon. (Must begin training now. Ok, tomorrow.)
5. Adopt more green habits.
6. Save more money.
7. Take charge of my finances and pay my credit cards off.
Remember Rachel on Friends? She had to get out the scissors and make the cut (literally) before she could mentally tackle her financial situation. Taking control of your personal habits now will only enhance your quality of life and prevent future financial burdens or health risks.
Okay, this is where it gets deep. Planning for marriage and family can be a little tricky, because a lot of it is out of our control. But it does make sense to decide on the timing of things, and what comes first. Since my career is my priority at the moment, my entry in this section is simple:
8. Date a British man. (I have big plans for him.)
You, on the other hand, may dream of dating a man from each continent, or being married with four kids in five years. Whatever works for you! This is your plan.
The fun stuff.
After all is taken seriously, it's time to make room for the whipped cream--the extras in life. If you want to go on a trip to the Bahamas or backpack across Europe, this will require preparation. But the good thing about life's little luxuries is that sometimes our stress dissipates when we know there is break from the routine in sight. My list:
9. Travel to another country, or New York. Item numbers six and seven will determine the success of this plan.
10. Buy a pair of Miu Miu shoes from the actual store.
11. See Chelsea Handler perform. Ideally, by the time I'm 30 we will already be best friends though.
Life's not only about hard work. It will do you some good to think of the fun extras that are within reach IF you plan successfully. This part of the planning process might also reveal those items that are not realistic nor in your best interest. So take caution and keep in mind that necessities come first and indulgences later.
Just remember, these plans are subject to change as you never know what life truly has in store. So while you may not know exactly where you'll end up in five years, don't hit the panic button. The route to 30 may become a lot more clear with a simple plan.