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Where do you see yourself in five years time?


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:

  • Retired

  • 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).

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Good topic. It seems to me that you're already in an ideal situation. Your family life is good and you have various enjoyable things to keep you occupied. You don't really need to make a lot of changes.

For us, we're a bit constrained because our son is still pretty young. I thought we could disrupt his education a bit to travel, but it isn't panning out. He doesn't adapt well to new situation and it's best to keep him in school. We'll have to wait until he's older to make changes. For now, we'll stay the course. Fortunately, life is good so I don't feel the need to struggle. We'll be in about the same spot in 5 years,…

いいね!
David @iRetiredYoung
David @iRetiredYoung
2021年12月06日
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Hi Joe I was looking forward to following your travels, but I fully understand why that is in the too difficult box. I'll just have to be patient to hear the stories. As for me, you're right, I have it quite good. But I also want to keep moving forwards, so I like the idea of making some plans for the future, which will hopefully include some things that I find notable or exciting. Sally's not quite of the same mind though, so I'll have to work on persuading her!

いいね!

A much better worded version of that question which for me really works is "what does success look like in 5 years"


It focuses the mind slightly differently!

いいね!
David @iRetiredYoung
David @iRetiredYoung
2021年11月28日
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Hi Dan I'm trying to decide whether I like that better or not. My first instinct was that I liked it better, but I then went on to wonder if the word "success" brings the idea of failure into the equation too, and I'm not sure I'm so keen on that. Does that thought process make sense, or is it just me? I guess that irrespective of the word choice, the benefit is that such questions gets us thinking about what we want to do, and ideally to then think of how we make them happen.

いいね!

You're not the only one, but out situation is a little different. In the next 5 years our youngest child will leave for college. Not that we won't miss him, but his school schedule is preventing us from traveling the way we want to. We've been thinking about the next five years a lot!

いいね!
David @iRetiredYoung
David @iRetiredYoung
2021年11月27日
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Having school age kids definitely dictates a lot. Of course we miss them as they head off to the next stage of their lives, but it also opens up many new things too. Hopefully you'll post about your plans when the time arrives.

いいね!

michelle
michelle
2021年11月27日

Love this - funnily enough it's exactly what we've been thinking about lately!


The timeframe thing fascinates me too - in the past it's tended to be "what do I want to do with my life" or "how do I make the most of my time here" etc. But that's really tough to answer when it's 'forever' and you have no idea how you or the world will change.


So likewise we've recently switched to thinking more along the lines of "what do we want to do in the next five years". For us, it will focus on S finishing up work, living somewhere outside the UK, more travel (world permitting). We've got stuck on the 'outside the UK' thing…


いいね!
David @iRetiredYoung
David @iRetiredYoung
2021年11月27日
返信先

Hi Michelle It's interesting how we look at the same things, but sometimes from a different perspective.. while you have gone from forever to 5 years, I'm going from next year to five years. I've been to Cape Town, so really should have done Table Mountain. A friend tried Mont Blanc recently, got a few hundred metres below the summit, but had to turn back. Another one that's tempting is Kilimanjaro. I've been to the top of mountains, can't really live on the Alps without doing so, but they're more long walks than anything more. Good luck on choosing the where to live destination. If you can view the decision without the forever connotation, then it does sound like making…

いいね!
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