Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Turning 25 - The 5 year plan!

18th July 2007

On July 18th of this year, I turned 25. Where the hell are all the years going?! Rather than dwell on the years flying by me at an extremely high rate of knots, I decided to look back at a time when things weren’t going too well for me and see how things had improved since.

In 2002, shortly before my 20th birthday, I was concerned at the fact that nearly 5 years after school, I’d achieved very little, whilst others around me were going far. I was still living at home with parents, I’d not even thought of learning to drive, I’d not managed to hold down a job for any longer than 4 months and none of the jobs were at a place I felt I could go far at or even doing what I wanted to do, which at that point I was unsure as to what that even was. I’d been to college for 2 years and got absolutely nothing from both years having done Catering for a year and a half before leaving and joining a late IT course and not managing to catch the work up.

There was also the issue of a bit of a debt ran up whilst living unemployed at home and the girlfriend situation sucked as there’d not been anything serious for a couple of years. Basically, all was not good but even though I feel that was one of the lowest periods of my life, I was determined to change it all so I set myself a goal to improve on every one of the points made above as best I can and look back over them when I was 25.

I’m pleased to say that although not all of them are where I’d ideally like to be at, I’m living a pretty damn happy life. It was only about 5 months after my 20th birthday that I got with Emma and to say we were serious is an understatement. We were engaged within a year, bought our first home together a year or more later and things seemed to be heading in the right direction in that sense. However, things didn’t go so well and we split this year. Looking on the bright side now though I am with Amelia and I have never been more in love than I am now. I see a very bright future for us both so as far as I’m concerned, that’s one point of the plan that’s going in the right direction.

I am also still living in the house owned by myself and Emma but are in the predicament of having to sell it and pretty soon too as it is nearly 6 months since we separated and Emma still pays far more than she should towards running costs, which isn’t ideal for her but is great of her but its my responsibility to sort this out before it begins to get messy. I’m not in a position to cover what she’s paying at present although she’s still obliged to cover half the mortgage and a few other things like payment protection insurance but that only comes to about half of what she gives me. I’m doing my best to resolve the situation and hopefully will be able to make a goodwill gesture of reducing her payments next month, which I hope she takes well and will be surprised and pleased at, especially in the run in to Christmas. Is the best I can do at the minute. So on the house front, I have my own house which is cool but am having to sell, which sucks. There’s a lot of positives still though as I can take a lot of experience from having run the house these past 2 years so my eyes will be a lot more open the next time I look for a place. This probably won’t be too long too as I’m hoping to be in a place with Amelia by this time next year. We’ve discussed it many times already and have a plan of selling this house, moving in either with my parents or into a flat owned by her dad, either of which will see our costs reduced immensely giving us ample time to clear debts and save for a large deposit for a house. So as far as the 5 year plan goes, I currently have a house as well as the knowledge of how it all works, which is great as 5 years ago I dreaded the thought of it all. Now it’s not so scary, other than house prices!

Its also been just over 2 years that I passed my driving test, albeit at the second attempt, but unfortunately I don’t possess the required ‘large pair of tits’ necessary to be granted a first time pass, even after a near-perfect test, not that I’m bitter or anything! I have my own car, a smart Citroen C3 that is a great runner so I’ve succeeded in my task of getting on the road. I should try and keep this point as completed though I seem to be doing a good job of trying to get back to where I started after a couple of driving offences almost cost me my license. Within 4 months of passing my test I was caught doing 37mph in a 30 zone, although I protest to this day I was accelerating into a 50 zone so feel very hard done too that I was caught and handed 3 points and a £60 fine. The second offence I have no such complaints at as I was returning from a nightmare day in Liverpool and missed the roadwork signs on the M1 near Rotherham so passed a temporary speed camera at 86mph and was handed a 28 day suspension and £230 of fee’s and court costs. I’ve now been driving more than 2 years so I’m unsure if another offence would see me re-sit my tests but I’m in no minds to find out!

The work situation is very healthy at the moment. Having completed a Modern Apprenticeship in IT at Mansfield Chamber Training Company between the age of 20-21 before beginning a very successful period working for West Notts College. I began in a local flexible IT Centre that belonged to the college as a trainee IT tutor, where I completed an Advanced Diploma in Software Applications but the work was reduced due to the reduction in demand for flexible IT tuition and I was relocated to the IT Centres in the main college campus’. I began as an IT Assistant and after 2 years was promoted to IT Advisor as I was working towards a HNC in Computing. I enjoyed every minute of working there but I’m currently in my final days there before undergoing a new venture (See North Notts College post). I’ve carved myself a great career path both in IT and Learning Resources in Further Education so there are many opportunities now open to me.

I’m still unsure as to what I’ll end up doing as a long term career but I have never really been someone who will view my career as my ultimate success in life. I am fairly smart (not at all modest) so I will use my head wisely and earn good money and try to reach my potential but at the end of it all, I’ll look back and make a judgement of my success based on my family, my memories and how I was as a person, rather than how much money I made, how far in my career I got or how much ass I kissed to get there. I want to look back and see a happy wife, gorgeous kids that respect me and a lot of friends. Money can’t buy that.

To be honest, I’m proud of where I am right now, I’m proud of how I‘ve busted my ass to get there and I’m pleased about where it can take me from here but I still don’t feel I’m in the career path I see myself doing for the rest of my life. Maybe the next 5 years so I can maybe move forward a little more and give myself enough money to pursue a dream career but firstly I’d have to find out what I want that to be. In the meantime, work is good.

Having entered my 20’s with virtually no qualifications to my name, just a handful of mediocre GCSE results, which at this stage of my life count as much for anything as a bag of Tooti Frooties would. I am now a proud owner of a completed Modern Apprenticeship where I achieved a Level 3 NVQ in IT, Level 2 Literacy and Numeracy Key Skills qualifications and Advanced Diplomas in Software as well as a giant sack full of work experience. I have also completed my HNC in Computing so the next stage is to look at a degree if I chose to take it that far. At present I have decided to take a year away from courses as they are quite demanding and I’ve been doing educational work fairly full time for the past 8 million years so feel I’m far enough ahead in my career to take a year out to enjoy life finally.

The money situation is pretty much the only scenario that is actually worse than it was 5 years ago, but I guess at this stage of my life that’s to be expected. It’s weird to see that I still haven’t totally paid off accrued debts from back then even after all this time but until now I’ve never really been in a position to really do my best to pay everything up. As soon as I sell the house anything made from this will be put into clearing the debts, as will a chunk of my wages next year. I’m determined to at least pay off the £450 owed to my parents, £700 owed to my granddad and the £5000 sitting on two of my credit cards by this time next year. Then it’s just the matter of the £7k car loan, but I’m not too worried about that as I see that more as a long term investment. I have a car good enough car to last me the 4 years remaining on the loan and it should still be at a value to give me a good deposit on my next one. It would be nice however to find a way of reducing the £227 a month I’m forking out for the next 4 years on it!

So that’s it, the last 5 years I have to say have bee pretty damn successful, and there just the things I thought of doing 5 years ago, they don’t even mention the achievements of my hobbies, such as the Welbeck venture, amongst other things. I also feel I’ve very much grown into a new person, one who is very well thought of and highly praised by many people, including family, friends and work associates. I’m no longer that cheeky little scamp of the family or village that gets into trouble all the time but I feel I’m very sensible, have my head screwed on and command a great deal or respect from every angle. That’s a nice feeling!

If I had to now judge how I would like the next 5 years to pan out for me using all the above scenarios as well as other things in my life, I could come up with a great set of pointers to try and achieve from now until I’m 30.

I’d like to think and I’m very positive I would still be with Amelia, as I will be for the rest of my life. We’d most certainly be married and hopefully even have 1 if not 2 little bundle of joys of our own. I can see myself still being in the current career line, maybe 1 or 2 steps up the ladder to now, but it’s not that important if I’ve not gone much further than now as I think it’s an immense achievement to be co-manager in FE at 25. If I do move up then great but then maybe by 30 I will have looked at what I want to do after this and began to look at ways to achieve this. I would think me and my family would be settled in a nice house, that’s not costing us out of being truly happy, in a nice area. The finances will be healthy without any stupid debts such as credit cards and family loans etc. I would also like to have made the most out of any opportunities in my personal life. Maybe I’ll be managing again as I definitely see myself doing this sometime in the future. Maybe I’ll still be playing and if so it would be a great feeling to have achieved something in this. These next 5 years look set to be the most exciting yet and I hope and know I’ll do my best to achieve everything I should and deserve.

No comments: