Monday, May 18, 2009

In Five Years...

Do you ever wonder what your life will look like in five years? Do you ever think about how you want it to look in five years?

I did this exercise about ten years ago and I can still vividly see the images that came to mind. There were three things that were on my must-have list.

1. I'd be writing full time.
2. My family would come home to a tidy house and I'd devote evenings and weekends to spend with them.
3. I'd be in a state of serenity.

Fast forward. I'm blessed with 20-30 hours of writing time a week during the school year. My family comes home to a somewhat tidy house (guess I'll have to work on that!) and I keep evenings and weekends free for them. But serenity? Yeah, right!

So here is my new-and-improved must-have list for the next five years.

1. My books will be published on a regular basis.
2. I'll write full time during the day and spend evenings and weekends with my family.
3. I'll be optimistic.
(Did you catch the tidy house thing disappeared? Okay, I'll try to clean more often...)

Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your life in five years:

-Are you writing full time? Part time? On the weekends?

-What does your day look like? Are you home alone, writing? Do you meet friends or run errands in the morning then write all afternoon? Are you working from your home? Or do you rent an office?

-What do you do with your free time?

-Are you successful? What does the word "successful" mean to you? Does it mean you're writing every day? Or does it mean you're published? Does it mean you're under contract? Does it mean you're making X amount of dollars?

-What will you have room for in your life in five years that you don't have room for today? Travel? Pets? Kids? Hobbies? Friends?

-What makes your life in five years different from your life today?

Waiting to color
Photo by smoorenburg

These questions can be fun and they can be scary. It's not always easy to dwell on what we want in life, but it's worth thinking about even if only for a few minutes. You might be surprised at how vividly the results of this exercise stay with you when you think back five years from now.

Join me on Wednesday when we'll look back on this time.


Get Motivated! It's Monday!


  1. My life now: a wife, a mother of a baby boy, a full time teacher who desperately wants more time to write and spend with her family.

    My life in 5 years: a better wife (less selfish), a mother of two, a SAHM with more time for family and writing!

  2. hard hard answers to give right now since our entire life is sort of on hold with the recession hitting us so badly. But I hope in five years, I'll finally have a book out and will be speaking.
    My goal today is to get through today:))

  3. I don't anticipate having more writing time while my children are young. But I plan to keep taking the time wherever I can get it. It forces me to be self-disciplined and requires me to sacrifice most of my hobbies. But at this stage in my life, it's worth it! Success is measured in steady progress forward. If I'm improving and enjoying the process than I need to be happy with that!

  4. Good morning!

    Katie: Busy, busy, busy! A better wife... hmmm... the fact you put less selfish down tells me you're a giving person. Selfish people don't think that way! Cross that one off your list! Your list sounds perfect to me.

    Terri: It's next to impossible to think ahead three days let alone five years when everything is up in the air. Try to be very kind to yourself right now. You have enough pressure.

    Jody: You're right. When the kids are young, there's little time. I put everything on hold until they were in school and just did what I could in between. And I love the steady-progress forward. I feel the exact same way!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Five years: Hoping to be closer to God, closer to my husband and a better parent to my girls.

    Hoping and working towards getting more published (short stories/essays, etc.).
    Hoping to have at least one novel published.

    Great questions!
    ~ Wendy

  6. My goals for the next five years:

    1. To learn and hone my craft.
    2. Get published.
    3. Devote more time to the house and my family.
    4. Spend more time with the Lord.

  7. Jill, these are awesome questions. I think I'll answer them tonight while I'm sitting on my deck, enjoying the view, and thinking about the future. :-)

  8. Wendy: Yes, better parent, closer to God, closer to my husband--wonderful! And I'm sure you'll have at least one book published! Promise you'll let me know of any book signings.

    Ralene: I know I'll always be learning and honing my craft. It's a never-ending, fascinating journey. And thank you for not including having a clean house. I like devoting more time to the home and family better!

    Melissa: I used to think success meant making money. Now, I know I experience success every day, because I'm living my dream. There's something magical about dreaming--enjoy!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  9. Great questions!


    Keeping the house spotless disappeared from my list too. I'm working on cleaning more often, and keeping things up, but there are so many other places I'd rather spend my energy. :)

  10. Man, you're making me feel old. In five years my youngest will be finishing up grade 11, my oldest will probably in one of her final years of university, if she goes, and depending on her major. All my girls will be driving likely, so the chauffeur duties will be minimal then.

    So, with that, I hope to be more disciplined with my writing. More efficient in it, too. I still hope to have evenings and weekends for family. And I do hope to have a cleaner house, and less cluttered, too.

    That's just off the top of my head. I think I have to think on this a little more. Great post, Jill!

  11. Danyelle: Ahh, a kindred spirit on the cleaning front. Doesn't a maid sound lovely?

    Eileen: I know! Five years from now looks...old. Your children have a great role model, though, so look ahead with happiness.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. You know what, Jill, I'd agree with your list. I'd like to be published consistently--even better, be able to support my family (five years might be a little ambitious for that, though). I'd really like to be more consistent about family time, too. Most evenings and weekends, of course.

    Right now my life has changed so radically in just a year that I wonder what I'll believe will or won't be possible in another year.

  13. I'd like to have something published and some sort of routine that allows me to write creatively every day. With my decision to homeschool I know that I will have to be organized to get this done. Oh, and to keep my house nice enough for company to drop by:) And more time for date nights with hubby as my oldest will be old enough to babysit!

  14. In five years I will be an empty nester!!! Oh my goodness! So, I hope to learn the craft, enjoy my kids while still at home, and then after the 5 years, have more time to focus on writing and get published. whew...makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

  15. Cindy: Radical life changes can throw you. In the almost fifteen years I've been married, we've lived in ten different homes and several states. Faith, family, and writing are the only consistents in my life. I cling to them. And here's to declaring your intent to be published on a regular basis! Here! Here!

    Kara: More dates--definitely! Isn't it terrific to feel like a woman and not just "mom"? I love it!

    Sherrinda: Terrific plan! I think of all the years I have ahead of me (God willing) and know I have all the time in the world to get published. Enjoy the journey.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  16. Oh sheesh...who knows. I am a natural planner who LOVES to have things in place six months in advance.

    Guess what God's been doing in my life? (Hint: I substitute teach - who knows where any day will take me!)

    I'd love to make plans, but I'm sure God will change them. I've tried to write that list a couple of times now, but I just don't know!

    I would like to some day own a home, have kids, and have books published. The hubby and I want to be filthy stinking rich so we can live off of 10% and give the rest as God leads us. I'd like to be at a healthy weight/size.

    More than anything, however, I want to be so close to God that if He tells me to scrap any/all of these things I will do so without hesitation and follow him.

    I'll let you know how that works out :)

  17. Karin: Ah, plans never DO work out exactly do they? Love your list!

  18. WOW, you ask so many fantastic questions. I like being flexible and open to adventure. I hope to get my memoir published and to travel and write in other countries. It's a great exercise. Wish my husband would do it too, but he'd say, "I don't have that luxury. I shall still be working."

  19. Oh Gutsy Writer, I would love to travel too. Your beach pics help me daydream travel! Good luck with the memoir. I'll bet it's chock full of interesting adventures!


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