He asked me to catch up in a cafe. I’d been working for his family for years at this point, and he wanted to know more. More about me and my life. Where did I see myself in five years? What was it that I wanted for myself and my life? I know now that what he wanted was a way for them to help me get there. To see me achieve my dreams and goals, but at the time, I didn’t know.

There was a brief flickering of the usual suspects; weight loss, more money, happy ever afters. But as far as what I REALLY wanted. What was going to be MY line in the success sand, I didn’t know. I cried (sobbed) because it felt like such a stupid thing to not be able to answer. Who doesn’t know what they want? Who doesn’t understand why they get up in the morning or have something to inspire and motivate them. It seemed ridiculous. And the last thing I wanted to be, in front of this person I admired was ridiculous.

Let’s be honest; the snotty ugly cry wouldn’t have helped.

Hear me when I say, I know what that feels like. I know what it is not to see the answer to a question that people seem to be able to answer so quickly. Where do you see yourself in five years? What inspires you? Tell us about your goals or your biggest dream! Terrifying. All entirely sob inducing if you don’t know the answer, or in all honesty, have never taken the time to think about it.

I just always assumed I had some idea. But by this stage, the ‘perfect’ series of life goals had already started to crumble. I’d learned that sometimes you don’t get what you want and that life isn’t always fair. There had been loss and grief, highs and lows, and challenges that I never expected to face. There had been lessons to learn, but it had never occurred to me that I stopped dreaming. The girl with the plan, all about those goals, was here with nothing. No idea. And no clue where that part of her had gone.

That day something changed.

Not only did I take on the challenge of some personal development courses, but I started to ask myself more questions. That day I began to question everything. Why did I want the things I wanted. Who decided that they were for me? And really, if it hadn’t been my choice then was it something I actually wanted. It took years of this to come up with anything more than a wish list of consumer items and surface-level goals. I wanted more money, time and things. Fine.

Then, as I got better at wanting, I learned to dream again. To focus on a picture of my life as I wanted to live it. A life of creativity and freedom. Sure, I’d need money for that, but the why became stronger than any bill that I wanted to have paid. Pictures started to form in my head of days spent making, of free time with family and friends, space to explore who I am and the things I enjoy. I started to see, very clearly, what I wanted and more importantly, who I wanted to be.

I’m a creative; a maker of things and I thrive on freedom, love and space.

From there, I started to create the life I wanted. Not by making yet another list of things to do, by chipping away at everything that was not that. There I was, years from that first conversation and I knew what there was for me to do. Finally, I could answer the questions. It’s been about five years now since that happened to me; since I started to create a life entirely around what I wanted. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but the course has been steady. I wanted you to know that.

If you are stuck, surrounded by new year/new me goals type posts based on envisioning the year ahead, but not knowing where to start; I see you. Know that you don’t have to have it all figured out – I’m not sure we human-types ever do. Start asking yourself more questions about your life, that’s my one tips. Question everything and start to determine who or what designed this life you have. Forget the five-year plan or the goals for 2020.

Get to know yourself instead.

Take this new year, heck this new decade, as a chance to get in touch with yourself and what you want again. Start a conversation with yourself that lasts the entire year. Be kind and let it develop slowly. There is no rush – you don’t need to know what you want or where you are going right now. That’s where ‘they’ get you. It’s a lie. You’ve got time. Practice checking in with yourself. I know, for me, that’s top of my list of things to do in 2020. Why not make it yours?