I’ve never been asked where I see myself in five years (because I’m pretty sure that’s actually just an antiquated question designed to identify women who will potentially get themselves pregnant and demand a six-week paid vacation at any point in the future, so employers maybe legally can’t ask it anymore) but if someone were to ask, I’d tell them that I see myself living in a house I just bought with money from my second book, which was an even wilder success than my FIRST wildly successful book, and I’d have a bunch of dogs and a pool and my cats would still be there (of course) and I’d also have a rose garden that was regionally renowned because not only am I now a famous author, I’m also a really fucking good horticulturalist.
In this fantasy world, I’d also be getting ready to vote Elizabeth Warren into her second term (trust me here) and weed would be completely legal and fossil fuels would be illegal and somehow the entire world would be at peace and everyone would be nice and all we would needs guns for would be signaling the start of unicorn races because also that is an incredibly popular pastime in my five-year-future.
Every bit of this is as possible as the next, because it’s pretty much all impossible as of right now. I have too much student loan debt to ever consider home ownership regardless of how many best-selling books I write, plus one of my cats almost suffocated himself when he burrowed too deeply into a pile of blankets last night and I literally just watched the other one gnaw on a plugged-in electrical cord so their futures are grim and that herd of dogs I mentioned probably doesn’t stand a chance either.
And with the speed at which this election is crashing and burning, it’s more likely that Elizabeth Warren will get arrested for having an opinion or a vagina or something like that than end up in office five years down the road.
Weed will probably be legal, though. And available for purchase at every corner store in every walled-in ghetto.
It’s important to sedate the people you’re oppressing.
Having goals is important though – and I do really want to write a book or two – but I think it can get dangerous and counterproductive to set too many, or to mistake an alternate version of your life for a collection of goals. Although life sometimes needs a total overhaul, usually that’s not the case; even when it is, every scientist will tell you that controlling variables is the only way to track the true or placebo effect of those variables because if you just change it all and it still turns out shitty you’ll never be able to figure out if everything was bad or if it was mostly good but one bad thing leveled it all out. Or something.
I wouldn’t have imagined any part of my life today if I’d been asked to envision it half a decade ago – not even the cats, because I only had one of them at this point five years ago. All I knew was that I hated a lot about my life and wanted to change it. So I did, in little, weird ways, and sometimes huge, terrifying (terriffying, even) ways. It all turned out pretty rad so far.
Five years really isn’t that much time, but it’s also an incredible amount of time. If I want to do something like write a book in the next five years, that’s a good goal, but it’s not fair to myself to surround that goal with all sorts of other expectations. Just doing it is expectation enough.
So I guess I should do it, then?