Two days ago, I turned 22; which doesn’t feel like too much of a big deal to me – until I consider the fact that I am closer to age 30 than to age 13…
For my birthday I went to London for 2 days. This is probably my 4th time in London, the first of which only being 2 years ago. Coming from a very small northern village, surrounded by fields and dying high streets, there was hardly any inspiration for young Heather, and I didn’t have a faintest idea what I wanted to do with my life during High School (which apparently, southerners call secondary school..)
I can remember wanting to be a singer or actor for good few years, but again, this wasn’t fuelled by actual potential or aspiration – it was fuelled by my mum’s addiction to sub-par soap operas and The X-Factor. Turns out, you need to be able to sing and act to become a singer or actress.
Sitting here, writing this blog-post at 8am from my student house in Nottingham, I can confidently say that I managed to find some idea of a pathway for my life, which extends beyond 13 year old Heather’s plan to win the X-Factor, or more realistically, working 37.5 hours a week at the Gregg’s in Huddersfield Bus Station.
Visiting central London always makes me realise how hard people try to follow their desired pathway and be the best at their niche. Whether its aspirational bloggers sat in coffee shops, drinking the cheapest item on the menu and whoring off the free Wi-Fi, because their £250 shoes seemed like a more valuable investment than stable broadband in their box bedroom, or 19 year old boys in ill-fitting suits trying to understand the power dynamics in the office block of their IBM internship.
Realistically, a large fraction of the busy bodies of London will try their best to be the best, and will never make it to be the best. That’s not just London, that’s the whole of England, that’s the same for the whole world. That can seem slightly bleak for some people, the idea that you are never going to be the best at a certain career. But there is almost some comfort in that.
You’re never going to be the best, so don’t put pressure on yourself to make it to the top 1% – just aim to make it to your own personal top 1%. Push yourself to your own limits, achieve your own goals and be proud of yourself for your own successes.
With this in mind, I watched a youtube video this morning by Unjaded Jade, which describes the idea of an Odyssey plan – writing down three separate realities you could be living in the next 5 years. I decided to give this a go, and write down the three different lifestyles I could realistically be living in the next 5 years. I encourage you to try it as well!
Odyssey 1 – Where you will be in 5 years if you carry on down the same path
Odyssey 2 – Where you will be in 5 years if you carried on down a different path
Odyssey 3 – Where you will be in 5 years if you don’t play by societal expectations
Of course these are very vague and brief templates of where my life will be. There are so many other variables to consider, such as what sort of home I live in, how financially stable I am, how well my mental and physical health is. But the general idea is to compare the three different outcomes and to realise that you actually have a lot more options than you believe.
I think the most important option part of this for me is Odyssey 3 – as this is where I would realistically want to be. I want to be able to follow a career and pathway which makes me feel happy and fulfilled. For some people this is working in an office and following instructions from someone else, but that’s not the case for me.
I still don’t have a set idea for where I genuinely want to be in 5 years, or where I will actually be in 5 years, but I certainly know that Action is more powerful than Talking. In order to get to where I want to be, I need to take small but frequent actions to follow my goals – rather than thinking about or talking about doing them.
Have a go at writing your own Odyssey plans, and see if there are any similarities between the three – which would make you the happiest?