All that spring cleaning in March, plus us gearing up to move in the near future, has got me thinking about the future. Why is that? Not really sure.
We love where we are here in Bend. Sure, I’m ready for spring weather (why, oh why, is it still snowing?), but I know I’ll be happy as a lark come August. That said, we’ve always been a nomadic family, and we don’t see that changing in the long-term.
So to keep me going strong here in the land-that-snows-to-welcome-spring, I sat down and scribbled out a Five Year Plan for our family. If you’ve read much of me, you know I like things like Family Purpose Statements and celebrating the new year with reflection questions.
But this was honestly the first time I’ve written something like a FIVE Year Plan. I’ve thought about it, sure, and it’s always fun to answer that question, “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” But never have I written out actual, concrete ideas.
It was eye-opening. (And yes, it reminded me of the 75-year plan on Bottle Rocket, if you ever saw that Wes Anderson blip in the late 90s.)
Our five year plan
Buy a fixer-upper, fix up said fixer-upper, and continue to live and work in Bend, Oregon. Write my next book. Continue saving for college and retirement (baby steps 4 and 5). Kids are 7, 4, and 2 (well, Finn turns two in June, halfway through the year). 10 year wedding anniversary!
Continue to live and work in Bend, Oregon. Keep saving for college and retirement, but also throw any extra money towards paying off the house. Also start saving for our 2015 plan. Take a family vacation. Next book released near the end of the year? Kids are 8, 5, and 3.
Continue to live and work in Bend, Oregon. Keep saving for college and retirement, but also throw any extra money towards paying off the house. Keep saving for 2015. Hit the road as a family on a North American book tour. Would love to live completely off the blog and other writing/online projects by the beginning of this year. Kids are 9, 6, and 4.
Keep saving for college and retirement, but also throw any extra money towards paying off the house. Take a six-month (or a year?) trip around the world as a family, researching where we’d like to live next. Keep working during this trip, begin writing my next book, and rent out our house in Bend. Kids are 10, 7, and 5.
Keep saving for college and retirement, and hopefully pay off our house. Start living overseas again, possibly for part of the year, with the remaining part of the year back in the U.S. If that’s in Bend, then still in the same house (maybe sublet the house as a vacation home while we’re overseas?). If elsewhere (like Austin?), then we’d sell the Bend house before going abroad. Kids are 11, 8, and 6.
It was harder than I thought it would be. Kyle would tell you that I’m pretty forward-thinking, continually getting excited about what’s next. But it was a challenge to get it on paper.
But it was also fun. It’s fun to dream, and scribbling this out gave me permission to Think Big. I put my pen down excited and refreshed.
I shared it with Kyle soon after I wrote it, and for the most part, he agreed. He helped tweak some wording and change a few glaring inconsistencies. But basically, this really helped us see that we’re tracking on the same page.
Things to know
This wasn’t completely comprehensive. I didn’t include every little travel plan or family event—we like to plan, but we also like to be spontaneous. We don’t know where, specifically, we plan to visit on our around-the-world trip (though we definitely have ideas!).
I kept it more about the entire family than about my own personal goals. Sure, I have them (health, skills to learn, and the like), but this five-year-plan isn’t really about me. It was about our family unit, what we want to do together.
Our plan is dreaming big, but it’s also possible. We actually are tracking along to fix up and then pay off our house, to travel, and to relocate again overseas. We may not get to do everything, but that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine.
This isn’t etched in stone. In fact, since I first wrote it a few weeks ago, it’s already changed a little bit. I’m not delusional in thinking nothing’s going to derail this plan, or that our desires won’t change in five years. I’m parking at Proverbs 16:9 on this one.
But I do know from experience that writing it down is a MAJOR step to seeing something happen. It’s happened to me already—this blog, the blog network, my book, living overseas, meeting certain people. Something magical happens when we own up to our dreams and draft them in words.
You can, too
You have dreams. I know you do. Even if you think they’re small potatoes compared to someone else’s, they’re still YOUR dreams, and you should treat them honorably.
Try it out this week—scribble down a few ideas for where you’d like to be in five years. What you’d like to do along the way. What would tighten your family bond. How these things would make you more the way you were meant to be.
And then share them with your spouse. Work on them together—hear his or her ideas, too, and decide if these are dreams worth pursuing together.
This weekend I created a five-year plan Pinterest board for visual inspiration. As we edit our ideas, come up with new ones, and cross things off the list, I hope to add more there!
Sure, I hold on to my life list loosely, and I have so much to be grateful for already. But we have permission to think outside the box, to dream big things for our family, and to pursue them. Join me?
What’s one thing you’d like to do in the next five years?
Whether or not the Five-Year Plans were a success is debatable. Although it wasn’t and still isn’t hard to be critical of the Five-Year Plans, by 1937 the USSR was a modern state and this saved it from being defeated by Hitler when he invaded in 1941.
It was only when Stalin cam into power that the idea of modernising the USSR was put into action. Many areas of USSR hadn’t changed much if at all since a hundred years before, they were still far from being modern like many other countries, who already had achieved modernisation years before and were years ahead of the USSR. It was Stalin who was determined to modernise the USSR and that he would succeed.
It wasn’t even as if it was just the military or just the industry that was “backwards” but all of them, military, industrial and agriculture too, this made the USSR weak and at the risk of being defeated and/or enslaved. Stalin was a very determined man and was adamant that the USSR could improve dramatically. And they would have to develop considerably as they were 50 to 100 years behind the leading, advanced countries and Stalin wanted to catch up with them in 10 years!
Stalin wanted his own ideas, the Five-Year Plans, to be put into action as soon as possible so he ended Lenin’s NEP and started to try and modernise the USSR his way. His Five-Year Plans may have been his idea but they were drawn up by GOSPLAN (the state planning organisation). Even though the plans were complex and had ambitious targets, they were efficient. For the reason that they were set out in such a way that by 1929 every worker knew what he or she had to achieve.
The first Five-Year Plan focused on the major industries and was started straight away in 1929. Achievements were staggering even despite the fact that most of the targets set weren’t met. The second Five-Year Plan was from 1933 till 1937, and was built on the achievements of the first plan. Heavy industry was still a priority, but other areas were also developed. Mining was intensified, and transport and communication, was improved due to new railways and canals being built.
The third and last Five-Year Plan begun in 1938. In this plan some factories were to switch to the production of consumer goods. However, unfortunately the Second World War disrupted this plan.
As I have made reference to before there was a lot that could be criticised in the Five-Year Plans. Although the plans were efficient at letting everyone know what their targets were at first there was a great deal of inefficiency, repetition of effort and waste. However looking at the evidence the Soviets did learn from their mistakes and this was shown in the result from the second and third Five-Year Plans. The human cost grew to be massive too. But as I said before the USSR was modernised a great deal and became a modern state.
Also although the Five-Year Plans could be criticised, the Russian people in the USSR seemed happy, and enthusiastic about these plans. Miners wore their overalls with pride and were eager to meet their targets. People weren’t afraid of or worried about not having enough money, being unemployed, fees for education and health, being under or over worked or even wage reduction.
Nearly no one was unemployed and women were allowed to work, and most of them took up this opportunity and did so. Four in five new workers recruited between 1932 and 1937 were women. This shows women were pleased to be given the opportunity to work. It didn’t seem to matter that conditions for workers improved the discipline was harsh, although some workers did try to escape these poor conditions and harsh discipline but were soon stopped.
Propaganda also played a part in this, as without it the Russian people would most likely be less pleased with Stalin’s Five-Year Plans. As with all propaganda, it only showed the people in the USSR what Stalin wanted them to see, like how well they were doing etc. and not the bad points like how far behind they still were.
In conclusion I think that despite all the criticism the Five-Year Plans could have and probably did get, the USSR did benefit from them. It caught up dramatically with other leading and advanced countries and improved quite quickly, it also pleased the people of the country. So although changes could have been made to make the Five-Year Plans better they did work in some ways, like making Russia a modern state. They may have improved the USSR even more if the Second World War hadn’t interrupted the third Five-Year Plan. After weighing up all the points I feel that the fact Russia did actually become a modern state persuaded me to think that they were a success in some ways.