“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“So, Anan, tell me,” my interrogator said, “where do you see yourself in five years?”

My mind wandered, and I pictured myself in a colorful, beautiful hippie dress, smoking weed and enjoying the green meadows and the chilly breeze. I walked barefooted on the fresh grass and then stepped into the river where the cool water tickled my ankles.

“Wake up! That is not the right answer!” The voice inside my head snapped, so I let my mind wander again. I saw myself dancing at night with happy, carefree gypsies around a huge bonfire. I was moving to the music and felt so liberated and unstoppable. My skin felt cozy as I danced closer to the bonfire, and the bangles I wore around my wrists created the most beautiful clinking tune.

I shook that idea off my head. “Not the right answer.” The voice hissed angrily. Where was I supposed to see myself? I drifted again and found myself drawing a huge mural on a crooked wall in the Old City of Damascus. I used every bright color I could think of and painted a nude yogi performing the Tadasana pose.

“Nah! Be realistic, Anan!” Indeed, what the man wanted to hear was something like, “I believe I’ll be the Regional Marketing Executive of your glorious, majestic, innovative firm.”

But, hey, why are people allowed to tell the likes of me to be ‘realistic’ and ‘rational’ while I am not allowed to tell ‘realistic’ people that I found them quite boring, uptight and unattractive? Whether they achieve what they’re talking about or not, how do you know they are competent enough, not slackers and don’t play dirty games? Or maybe they are good people and great employees, but we don’t need to be copies of them! We are human beings and not a series of robots.

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” is just another cliché job interview question which should have been replaced with a more creative one a decade ago. “A senior manager at you reputable company” is too nerdy and boring for me! I always told the truth… and always landed the job! I once said I saw myself working at a certain publishing company in a different city, which made the person interviewing me laugh and say, “Then what are you doing in the computer industry?” The next day, he sent me a good offer… and I gladly accepted it.

How about we all tell the truth? The first thing that crosses my mind when asked where I saw myself in 5 years has nothing to do with my job! I want to travel the world, start my own project, become a theta healer, Salsa dance in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, fall in love with a handsome macho man, hug a koala, swim with dolphins in the sea (and not in a pool where they are trapped) and ride a wild horse! Why should I imagine myself behind a desk doing a job when I have enough imagination to picture myself skydiving for instance? “If you can dream it, you can do it.” (Walt Disney) And whether I do it or not, no one has the right to judge me based on where I saw myself in five blessed years.

You can be ambitious and hardworking, but you don’t always expect your hard work to pay off within 5 years. I have personally witnessed slackers get promoted although they’ve got no experience whatsoever and no skills… while many hardworking employees with good experience, a long list of skills and excellent education worked their ***es off without getting promoted simply because the management was afraid that once they’ve promoted the ambitious employee, s/he’d leave for a better company. Life is not fair, so why burden yourself with planning to get promoted when you can enjoy imagining living it up and being the person you want to be?

In five years, I want to learn more about theta healing, I want my French to be excellent, I want to master the art of oil painting, be surrounded with my family and good friends, master the Peacock yoga pose, eliminate refined sugar from my diet, start my own project, get published, learn at least one new skill, improve my meditation skills, completely quit cussing, help at least one young woman achieve a goal, boost my mindfulness, make at least one person’s day better and I want my parents to be very proud of me. In five years, I want to be super happy and satisfied… I want to have achieved inner peace and explored new worlds.

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