My daughter started somthing a few months back that she calls "Five by Five." I don't know whether she thought it up herself, or whether she found it on some other blog on the internet. Basically, you choose five big goals and work towards them for the next five years. If you're interested, her goals are posted here.
So I thought, that sounds like a good idea. I've been working (very slowly) towards my Day Zero goals, and I've got a bunch of other things on the fire, but five big goals in five years seems to me to actually be something I can acheive, and that will bring some order to my chaos, and keep me from going off in too many directions at once. So I sat down and thought about which five goals I wanted to acheive, and it was actually easy to choose. Readers of my blogs will hardly be surprised, in fact. I've been working towards these goals all along, and have made significant progress. But having the five down as my main focus for the next five years, and regularly reviewing my progress will, I believe, help me to acheive them.
So, without further ado, I present my own Five by Five:
Goal Number One: Have An Awesome Living Space
At some nebulous point in the future, I would love to own my own house or apartment or something, but right now I'm living in the same place where I've been living for the past sixteen years: in a two bedroom townhouse in a co-operative housing development. I like it here. The place I'm in is rent-geared-to-income, for which I'm profoundly grateful. We have a maintenance company to do the plowing and shovelling (a huge bonus this past week!), and I can, within limits, decorate and paint the way I want. Actually, I have almost no limits with regards to painting and suchlike, as long as I restore the unit to pastel colours before I move out, and pay for any paint that's not a pastel shade. But as I said, I've been here sixteen years, and I'm not likely to move out within the next five, so...
I'm going to fix up the place. Actually, I have been. I've cleaned up a lot of the clutter, and I had my son paint some of the downstairs and the staircase going up, and then I asked for and got new carpetting on the stairs. I haven't had carpet on those stairs in about five years--it wasn't in great shape when I moved in, and the cats destroyed what was left, so I took it out.
I got new flooring in the bathroom, too, and the toilet has been restored to working order.
These minor things are big to me--I'm a lot happier in a place with working plumbing and nice floors!
There's still more work to do, especially in the basement, but little by little, I'm reclaiming my space and making it beautiful.
Goal Number Two: Be A Bestselling Fantasy Author
It's my dream. It's been my dream since I first started writing fantasy seriously, twenty-four years ago. And with the boom in self- and e-pubbing, it's a more realistic goal than every before. Yes, I know there's a lot of self-pubbed crap out there, but I've come to the conclusion that self-pubbing is perhaps the only way I will get my stuff published.
Well, I wrote this novel during this past year. I originally had no intentions of publishing it, but the darn thing started to grow on me, and by December 1 I realized that I had a viable story here, and that with a lot of revision, I might actually have something that I would be proud to show to other people. But...
It's a fantasy romance, not in itself a hard sell, I think, but the main characters turned lesbian on me halfway through the month, and one of them happens to be Snow White. Yes, she of Disney fame.
I could, I suppose, try to sell it to a publisher of queer literature, but the sexual orientation of the main characters isn't one of the themes any more than Snow White's vegetarianism is, it just is, and I'd like to try for a wider audience. And if I sell to a queer pub, what then of my main series (which I am determined WILL see the light of day!), in which the hero is unrelentingly hetero, and the heroine is bi, and is in love with (and ends up marrying) the hero?
Besides, self-publishing seems like a challange that I'd like to take up. So I'm going to do it. This year.
And I'm going to keep writing and publishing until I reach my goal of being a best-selling fantasy author, because that's what I want to be.
Goal Number Three: Fit & Fabulous, Baby!
I'm fifty-two years old, and I'm likely into the latter half of my life. And I've come to realize that if I don't do something to regain at least some of the vigour of youth, that I'll be spending far more time in pain and poor health than I want to.
I want to be fit so that I can walk trails I haven't walked in years (or at all), and so that I can travel. I want to be healthy so that I'll be able to keep up with my grandchildren and maybe even my great-grandchildren, when and if they arrive.
In the last month, I've had allergy testing, an optometrist's appointment and new glasses, two dentist appointments, and a bladder check-up by a gynecologist. Still to come: minor surgery to repair a bladder problem. My blood pressure, cholesterol readings and other indicators are all normal, with the exception of my BMI, which I'm working on. :)
And I want to be fabulous--well dressed and stylish, because I've spent most of my life as a frump and I'm tired of it!
Goal Number Four: Financial Freedom
I'm in debt over my head. At this point, I'm carrying more than forty thousand dollars in student loans, a car loan, and minor credit card debt. I'm in arrears on my housing charge.
I hate it!
I've made big strides here in the last little while. My income is stabilized. It's not excessive--it's not even enough, many months. But it's stable, so I can budget.
I've been keeping track of my expenses and income since the beginning of the year. I'm almost on top of my bills. I'm paying a little more than just the interest on my student loans, so at least they've stopped growing. My housing arrears will be paid off in September, my car loan in March of 2014.
I even have a savings plan, modest though it is!
Goal Number Five: Cross Canada Road Trip
This is the one that I had left to choose. All of the others were pretty much a given.
I chose a cross-Canada road trip because it is my firm belief that it's important to see one's own country before one goes galavanting around the globe.
And I do live in what I consider to be the most beautiful and diverse country in the world, though I do understand that others may disagree! Yes, I want to see London and Paris and Mexico and Cuba and Australia and New Zealand and parts of the United States and other places in the world, but I want to see as much of Canada as I can first.
And if I'm going to do that I'm going to start by seeing places within driving distance that I've never seen before. I live within driving distance of thousands of tourist attractions, and I'm sure I've not seen even close to half of them!
So there it is: my life plan for the next five years. On with it!