It's a question that instinctively makes me think of job interviews. A question that I'd try to answer honestly, but with the caveat that the most important thing was to tell the interviewer what they wanted to hear.
Google "where do you see yourself in five years time?" and you'll find lots of advice on how to answer. And like my experience, the advice is all centred on a job interview situation.
It seems odd that we have a question about where we see ourselves in five years time in a work/career context, but I suspect not many of us take much time to ask the same question with regard to our personal life. Now I have time to think about these things, I much prefer the question:
Where do I see myself, in terms of my personal life, in five years time?
It's not a question that I've asked myself before. One reason for doing so now is that I'm starting to wonder what targets to set for next year and the idea of having an idea beyond that time horizon seemed a logical step. Another is that I'm approaching my fifth anniversary of full time early retirement. And I guess a third reason is that time goes by really quickly and, although I'm still relatively young, the age when things become harder to do will arrive sooner than I'd like.
Approaching my five year early retirement anniversary, a good starting point to the thought process might be:
What have I done over the past five years that I found exciting or particularly memorable?
There have been some good things, including that I've:
Started a blog
Relocated to a new country
Backpacked travelled some long(ish) trips to Asia/Australia and USA/Central & South America
Learned to ski
Bought a campervan
That's not bad, a decent platform to start to think about
Where do I see myself in five years time or, put another way, what do I want to do in the next five years?
Some of it will be more of the same, such as more travel, working to improve my skiing so that more ski touring (aka backcountry skiing) is within my grasp, as well as continuing my blog. As to new things, I need to think more about it, but perhaps some of these initial ideas will make the cut?
I've been to all the continents apart from Antarctica
I've not climbed a mountain
I still have my idea for a slow (I'm thinking a year) campervan trip from Canada to the Southern USA
Maybe our fledgling Morzine Running Group can turn into something more
What about some activities/adventures? Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc is an idea, perhaps some bikepacking trips or an ultra trail race?
Build a tiny house, although I suspect this is a slightly less realistic idea
I know that I'm far from being the most exciting or adventurous person, but I still want to make the most of my early retirement. I'm fortunate to have this opportunity, and I don't want it to slip by and be wasted. A plan, perhaps one that starts with the question "where do I see myself in five years time / what do I want to do in the next five years?" seems to be a good place to start.
There is more to add to this list once I give it some further thought, and hopefully once Sally gives it some thought too. But beyond my ideas/plans, it's a principle that interests me, that we might ask where we want to be career wise, but maybe don't ask that same question in terms of the "not work" part of our life. As I said earlier, that seems a bit odd to me (unless of course I'm the only one who hasn't been doing this).