Where I would like to be in 5 years
Today I had a job interview with a company. Being the neurotic person I am, I prepared. I remembered everything the company’s website says. I made index cards with photos to learn everyones name. I even prepared for questions that I thought were definitely going to be asked. Of course the interview went totally differently than expected. In the end we had a nice chat for nearly two hours about different topics. I even learned some new views on politics.
Most of my time preparing I spent with answering one question. Where do I see myself in five years? I had no idea. Honestly I still don’t. Would it be ethically acceptable to just make some plan up? Should I just say some trendy phrase to show how open minded and in the moment I am? „I’m taking life one step at a time.“
After minutes of mental discussions and non written pros-and-cons-lists I concluded to tell the truth.
„Dear Sir or Madam, I have no idea where I will be or where I am supposed to be in 5 years. I’m not even quite sure where I am now. But there are five goals I would like to be closer to in five years.
Number One. Speak fluently another language.
In the past I never was the person to constantly travel or do new things. I was in my own small world. It was nice there. Or at least comfortable. For unexplainable reasons that changed and I now feel like the world got a little big bigger. Learning another language does not just mean I will be able to talk to new people and watch the local news of strange places. Having perfected a new language will mean that I have talked to people in another language and failed at innumerable time. It will mean I got to know myself and then understand how I am able to learn a massive amount of information.
Number Two. Have more constants in my life.
Lately I am beginning to appreciate having people, things and habits in place that I want to keep there. I am a person who likes to throw things. Who likes to change habits and overthink systems I have. Realizing that I need constants was a shock, but enabled me to focus more on variables while enjoying the constants. Feeling like there are people who you can trust and talk to, is probably the most important. Also having a system for loosing weight quickly, dressing in the morning, making scrambled eggs in the same pan, drawing a square, meditating, passing weird people. I know it feels like doing the same things all over again is uncreative and boring. But I think we should acknowledge that we are just not capable of living every moment in pure presence and innovation. Some constants need to be in place to enjoy the variable the most.
Number Three. Take things(me) less seriously.
As a human being, — or at least thinking I am — I take my presence on this big rock in space way too seriously. Having all the thoughts in a room focus on me whenever I enter the room, is really exhausting. Simulating every conversation before it happens, is too. Thinking that there is some invisible goal I have to reach, is borderline stupid. Am I really that important for the preservation of the human species that my every move is judged by seven billion people who all need me to succeed and be perfect? I have no idea. The truth might just be as Kurt Vonnegut put it. „I tell you, we are here on this Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.“
Number Four. To some degree actually help someone.
As an immensely loving and incredibly caring person, of course I wanted to help as many people in need as possible. And I saw needing people everywhere. I saw them on the train. I saw them on the streets. Some of my closest friends definitely needed me. So I fulfilled my human duty and helped them all.
Mostly this worked like this:
1) Me realizing that someone has a mistake or problem.
2) Me working out the problems to accept, the books to read and the steps to take for this person.
3) Giving the perplex person all the data I collected so they can solve their „problem“.
4) Me not understanding that they didn’t follow my advice. More weirdly, they were mad at me.
It took me one very dear person to realize that the savior of human preservation — me — , is an utter and complete idiot. So I stopped helping people that didn’t ask for my help. The result was of a manageable size. None got depressed, overweight, uneducated or had to leave the country because of the absence of my help. So i continued not helping. And it helped me. I started accepting the people around me and in part myself. Sometimes trying to see mistakes in others is just a way to not see ourselves. — Probably a buddhist quote —
And on some beautiful days, comes this one person and asks me for my help. Even just to open a glass of cherries.
Number Five. I want to understand time a little better.
As a learned anthropologist and psychologist or having read one book about homo sapiens, I think there are two factors why humans are so distinct from animals. We are damn good at attaching emotional context to objects and symbols. We are extraordinary aware of time and we know how to bend it to our wills. The time our ancestors started to sow, they had to start being aware of the time until they can harvest. This time was in their heads the moment they put the seed in the ground. But because humans are not capable of keeping such information in mind in a structured way, they had to invent objects, that are outside their heads, that would help. Script, calendars and Push-Notifications. So in the past thousands of years we invented tools that can help us in any sort of way to make the factor time more manageable. There is even an own profession for this, called project management. What a project manager does is to structure a project with tools that help to navigate it and get to the goal. Those tools can be books that transfer information from one time to another. Or a list that I fill out to make sure I do not forget what it is that I came to the supermarket for. We just are not built to manage information like that. So we need those tools, so we can focus on what we do best. Make shortsighted emotional decisions and make them sound reasonable in hindsight.
Often I don’t use those tools. I know I should, but I don’t. Why would I need something that helps me to remember where I wanted to go with this project?
I want to cultivate a pool of tools I can always use to better deal with time and understand it sometimes. Or me.”