I wrote a five year plan (and you can, too)
All that spring cleaning in March, plus us gearing up to move in the near future, has got me thinking about the future. Why is that? Not really sure.
We love where we are here in Bend. Sure, I'm ready for spring weather (why, oh why, is it still snowing?), but I know I'll be happy as a lark come August. That said, we've always been a nomadic family, and we don't see that changing in the long-term.
So to keep me going strong here in the land-that-snows-to-welcome-spring, I sat down and scribbled out a Five Year Plan for our family. If you've read much of me, you know I like things like Family Purpose Statements and celebrating the new year with reflection questions.
But this was honestly the first time I've written something like a FIVE Year Plan. I've thought about it, sure, and it's always fun to answer that question, "Where do you see yourself in ten years?" But never have I written out actual, concrete ideas.
It was eye-opening. (And yes, it reminded me of the 75-year plan on Bottle Rocket, if you ever saw that Wes Anderson blip in the late 90s.)
Our five year plan
Buy a fixer-upper, fix up said fixer-upper, and continue to live and work in Bend, Oregon. Write my next book. Continue saving for college and retirement (baby steps 4 and 5). Kids are 7, 4, and 2 (well, Finn turns two in June, halfway through the year). 10 year wedding anniversary!
Continue to live and work in Bend, Oregon. Keep saving for college and retirement, but also throw any extra money towards paying off the house. Also start saving for our 2015 plan. Take a family vacation. Next book released near the end of the year? Kids are 8, 5, and 3.
Continue to live and work in Bend, Oregon. Keep saving for college and retirement, but also throw any extra money towards paying off the house. Keep saving for 2015. Hit the road as a family on a North American book tour. Would love to live completely off the blog and other writing/online projects by the beginning of this year. Kids are 9, 6, and 4.
Keep saving for college and retirement, but also throw any extra money towards paying off the house. Take a six-month (or a year?) trip around the world as a family, researching where we'd like to live next. Keep working during this trip, begin writing my next book, and rent out our house in Bend. Kids are 10, 7, and 5.
Keep saving for college and retirement, and hopefully pay off our house. Start living overseas again, possibly for part of the year, with the remaining part of the year back in the U.S. If that's in Bend, then still in the same house (maybe sublet the house as a vacation home while we're overseas?). If elsewhere (like Austin?), then we'd sell the Bend house before going abroad. Kids are 11, 8, and 6.
It was harder than I thought it would be. Kyle would tell you that I'm pretty forward-thinking, continually getting excited about what's next. But it was a challenge to get it on paper.
But it was also fun. It's fun to dream, and scribbling this out gave me permission to Think Big. I put my pen down excited and refreshed.
I shared it with Kyle soon after I wrote it, and for the most part, he agreed. He helped tweak some wording and change a few glaring inconsistencies. But basically, this really helped us see that we're tracking on the same page.
Things to know
This wasn't completely comprehensive. I didn't include every little travel plan or family event—we like to plan, but we also like to be spontaneous. We don't know where, specifically, we plan to visit on our around-the-world trip (though we definitely have ideas!).
I kept it more about the entire family than about my own personal goals. Sure, I have them (health, skills to learn, and the like), but this five-year-plan isn't really about me. It was about our family unit, what we want to do together.
Our plan is dreaming big, but it's also possible. We actually are tracking along to fix up and then pay off our house, to travel, and to relocate again overseas. We may not get to do everything, but that doesn't mean we can't imagine.
This isn't etched in stone. In fact, since I first wrote it a few weeks ago, it's already changed a little bit. I'm not delusional in thinking nothing's going to derail this plan, or that our desires won't change in five years. I'm parking at Proverbs 16:9 on this one.
But I do know from experience that writing it down is a MAJOR step to seeing something happen. It's happened to me already—this blog, the blog network, my book, living overseas, meeting certain people. Something magical happens when we own up to our dreams and draft them in words.
You can, too
You have dreams. I know you do. Even if you think they're small potatoes compared to someone else's, they're still YOUR dreams, and you should treat them honorably.
Try it out this week—scribble down a few ideas for where you'd like to be in five years. What you'd like to do along the way. What would tighten your family bond. How these things would make you more the way you were meant to be.
And then share them with your spouse. Work on them together—hear his or her ideas, too, and decide if these are dreams worth pursuing together.
This weekend I created a five-year plan Pinterest board for visual inspiration. As we edit our ideas, come up with new ones, and cross things off the list, I hope to add more there!
Sure, I hold on to my life list loosely, and I have so much to be grateful for already. But we have permission to think outside the box, to dream big things for our family, and to pursue them. Join me?
What's one thing you'd like to do in the next five years?
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