Pondering the future
Anyone else find it really tough just figuring out what you want to do in life and how you want to live it? *everybody in the room raises their hands*
Okay, so I made that part up, but this is something I don’t feel alone in.
I’ve been thinking about my future a whole lot lately. I’m trying to seek out clarity to get a better handle on what it is I want. I often say that people always want more than one thing, I think this is definitely true for me. I can imagine a variety of possible futures I would enjoy, but knowing exactly which one is best or how to get to it is tough. It's tough because there's probably no 'right' answer.
Lately I’ve felt that I get small glimpses of potential futures and what I might like, but nothing concrete, so these little glimpses drift away as daydreams often do. RIP daydreams.
I feel when thinking about future goals it’s important to imagine them fully. Describe and write about what that future is like, what you do and what it feels like. It might be a pretty odd suggestion but I’ve tried this before to puzzle out life plans and it has helped me empathise with my future self and think about the good and bad. You don’t need to be a fantastic novelist either (I’m definitely not, it’s good to be rough).
One of the big ideas I’m toying with at the moment is whether I want to work full time and save faster towards big future investments (#cottagelife), or do I want to work part time and call more of my own shots; working or trading just enough to cover my expenses plus a bit on top, and spend more of my time living. Whichever future I fall for, there's living the life I want in a general sense (health, creativity, adventure etc etc)
Imagining the future - Working remotely & freelance
Its midday and I’ve parked my van on one of the roads near mam tor. Later I think I’ll go another walk. The dog is resting by my feet in the van. I’m working on my laptop, doing some offline design work. One of the rear doors is cracked open and I can hear (and smell) the countryside.
Its peaceful. And I’m pretty focused. It may have cost me about £10 in petrol to get here but I’m glad. With the van I can take myself and the dog anywhere to experience a new place to be, and in some respects the lack of internet is actually a blessing as it can help me find focus and clear my mind.
I really like going exploring, but if I’m not careful it can cost me 30-40 pounds a week. Sometimes I don’t venture out as far. But when I go as far as the peaks, I make sure the days are long and worth it, and if I need tea or food I always have my camping gear to prep something simple. It may not have wifi and there's no meeting room, but some people pay £100 a month for a studio. Nature is my studio.
I love days like this. I take only what I need and even though I’m working, all the pressures of life feel distant to me. In the winter months it can be too cold to stay in the van, but i love being able to enjoy daylight in the week. It’s a shame that getting the van on and off the drive is so very time consuming and awkward.
Imagining the future - Saving for #CottageLife
I’m shooting up the M1 each day on my bike and really enjoy letting the bike stretch its legs. Its lovely, especially when there’s traffic because I can pass right through it. It does kinda suck when its raining though, so I'm really glad I bought waterproof over-gear. If the weather's really nice I like to go a more scenic route (but getting up earlier is the hard part).
I love Sheffield as a city. It’s been great learning it as it’s got lots of cool places like Nottingham does. I work in a cool studio which is laid back, with talented people and work I enjoy. I love the south Yorkshire accent and I get to meetup with a lot of local photographers.
The travelling can be quite long, I’m typically riding for 2.5 hours each day, which is more than I had to travel for my previous jobs, but having said that I do get to leave on time and the energy is better so it’s worth it.
Other than the petrol, which does bite me, I'm able to work up my savings really quickly. It’s nice because I’ve been able to recoup the cost of my motorbike already and I’m on track saving for my little cottage. Each day feels like a step in the right direction.
Nice fantasy isn’t it. Or could it be a reality? They're both quite charming.
Being honest, there are negatives with the above ideas. But generally by writing about the future (especially if you can make it as ad lib as possible) gives my mind food for thought, and makes it easier to proceed as key themes break through about each option.
I’ve got a lot of thoughts to be thought lately. Big questions I’m hoping to answer over the next few weeks as I have a break from my current routine, and figure the main direction I want to propel my life in. I hope this has been a curious distraction, and if you've got life decisions to puzzle out; write about them!
Personally I do find considering life choices in a novel-format fairly helpful. It can reveal things you didn’t know you wanted. Ultimately however, its likely that you’re only going to get a solid idea of what you want for your life if you put the time in and think about it. Even it takes numerous hours across weeks or months, I feel like I/we are worth that time.
As always, hope you’re having a great week and happy midlife crisis!