My friend Rebecca asked a question of people, sometimes, when she's trying to get them to really think about their lives. She asked them, Where do you see yourself in five years?, not just out of curiosity, but because of what their answer means to their current situation. If you see yourself married with two kids in five years, but you're currently single and childless, you either have high expectations for the future, or you need to really start taking relationships more seriously.
If you want to be doing something in five years - mothering, publishing, travelling - you need to be working towards that now.
For me, it comes down to a happy little mix of writing, publishing and travelling.
Don't get me wrong. I don't expect to become an overnight hit in the writing department. Writing books isn't how you make money from writing. The biggest earners, aside from the big bestsellers in the publishing industry, are usually screenwriters. Of the Average Joe variety of writer, screenwriters make the most from a single piece of work. (It's also the most competitive market - fun!)
But I'd love to be doing it. I'd love to be trying my hand at screenwriting, while continuing to write my books, and attempting something of a freelance career. It's a difficult life to get started in, nearly impossible to do while in full-time education as an Undergrad. student, but it's not outside of my reach at this point in my life. I have books for guidance on screenwriting and freelancing, and I understand the book publishing sector relatively well, and it's just a case of applying everything I have to that dream.
That's what this month is all about for me, with Operation Overdrive. I want to create my work-life balance now, with an over-the-top last ditch attempt before my Masters starts in September.
And that Masters is where the second part of my five-year-dream comes in: publishing. My Masters is in Multimedia, which will help build up a skill-set in digital image editing, video production, and audio production - among other areas - which I see as being vital for publishing in the future. I have my own plans, aside from wanting to work with a major publishing house in the UK or the US or even here in Ireland (though there are fewer publishers here), and I'm confident that once I get the ball rolling, I'll be able to sort out something big.
Obviously, my explanation here will be lacking in details while they're still being worked on, but I've already started working on what I want to do, and how I want to do it, and it's just a case of getting the background work in place before I fully commit to it all - including putting my energy into the Masters.
As for the travelling, that's where things get complicated. Conventional work wouldn't allow for travel, and neither would a low income, and I don't plan on living at home when I'm approaching 30. I could tell you all of the places I want to go - and I will later in the month - but that doesn't explain how I'm going to afford it.
The travelling aspect is where I get to see the world. I know I can't afford to do it now, not while I'm saving everything I've got for the Masters (because aside from the fees, I'd like to get my own equipment, like a new laptop, and a proper camera). But if I could make the travel part of my work, if I could use it as research, or as part of a freelancing job, then it makes the money put into flights and accommodation part of the necessary expenses.
It's a child's dream, I suppose, but growing older doesn't mean that those dreams have to go away. Growing older just means that I can make more sense of those dreams, and how to make them a reality. In five years time, I want to be doing just that.