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Longer Term Goals


I’ve recently found myself being in plodding mode. You probably know that mode, it is very easy to fall into where you are just doing life stuff, going from day to day, week to week, everything is reasonably fine but there isn’t any progress towards goals.

So I’ve started thinking about longer term goals. Where do I want to be in 5 years time? What would success look like? What do I need to do to achieve this?

I’ve narrowed it down to 3 main goals:

  1. Be living in my own flat in London (actual London – not Harrow).
  2. Become a senior software engineer.
  3. Have a Spanish wife.

How am I going to achieve this?

1. My Own Flat

I think if I was writing this two years ago, this goal would be “travel the world”. Before the pandemic forced me to save money, saving enough money for a deposit in London seemed like la la land. Now I probably have around 75% of a decent deposit, including money to pay for solicitors and other crud to rip me off.

Granted, I can only afford a flat with the government Help To Buy scheme, and even then I need to earn around £8,000 more than I do now, or have around £10,000 more deposit than I am currently planning on having, or some combination of the two.

I’m quite intrigued about a new development in Walthamstow that my sister is very keen on, and I think I might be able to get a 1 bedroom flat for around £375,000 there – they only release a few flats at a time to keep the prices inflated, and they have loads left to finish in 8 separate blocks, so there is no rush.

Which is useful, as I still need to find some more money.

What do I need to do to achieve this?

Well, firstly saving around another £10,000 more would be helpful. I can save around £1,000 a month if I’m having an active social life every weekend, like I have been since lockdown ended. This is almost all invested in the stock market, so if it goes up in value then I will get there quicker. Of course, if there is a stock market crash, then, well, I’m fucked…or delayed.

How could I save more? Stop drinking at home would help. Drink less at Sunday roasts (the roasts are non-negotiable obviously). Go out less on a weekend. Keep not going to the office. I don’t spend much on clothes, music or household stuff – so not really much I can cut out there, plus I need some rewards for good behaviour to manage the positive feedback loops.

Secondly, I do need a pay rise. Yes, another pay rise, I’ve had two already this year. But I’m still short of what I need to be accepted for Help To Buy on their debt to loan criteria.

I guess this leads onto…

2. Become a senior software engineer

I should be able to get a pay rise sufficient enough to qualify for Help To Buy criteria without really doing anything else other than say “well, you promised me in 6 months”. Bureaucracy meant I couldn’t be offered the pay rise that I originally requested. Perils of working for a large company.

I could earn more elsewhere. My little recent dalliance with the job market taught me that I could easily command around 50% more – well, I say easily…easily if I get some React experience.

For those of you that don’t know, I code in JavaScript. React is built on JavaScript and is super popular right now – almost all jobs in my area need React experience. Some companies are more agnostic and will trust that you can learn it if you’ve learnt other languages/frameworks, but the best jobs seem to want at least a little bit of React experience.

I have been learning React this year. I haven’t built anything though. That’s really what I need to do – build a couple of React apps and publish them, so potential employers can look at my code and see that I know it well enough to command that 50% higher salary.

Without opportunity to use React at M&S (at the moment, anyway…a project is coming along but maybe not until well into next year…bureaucracy is delaying it), then I need to use my spare time to build something. Which means weekends. Which means not having hangovers. Which means not drinking at home on a Friday night.

I need to do pretty much the same as goal 1, to help achieve this.

3. Hola, mi esposa

I’m pretty happy single, so if I’m going to sacrifice my freedom to watch porn whenever I want and leave the toilet seat up, then it might as well be me achieving my life-long dream of a Spanish wife.

This is less important than goal one or two. Goal one and two could feasibly be achieved in 2022. Achieving this goal in 2022 is unrealistic, but I can work towards it. These are longer term goals, after all – if in a few years time I am a senior software engineer, with my own flat and a senorita beside my heart, then I will bloody well be smashing life.

How can I improve my chances?

Well. Fucking lose weight. I’m back to being obese. Guess how I lose weight? Drink less. There’s a theme here, isn’t there?

Also sorting my teeth out might help. But that costs money and a flat is more important.

Learning Spanish could be useful. I do go through phases of using Duolingo, mostly when I’m on detox as I have a bit more time and space for doing non-urgent stuff.

So…what do I need to do?

Fuck, it seems like I need to drink less to achieve all of this. Any chance of a new covid mutation that requires another lockdown?

That said, I have very much enjoyed my slightly warmer autumn over the last few months, so I reckon I can easily chill out a bit more during actual autumn.

Really it all boils down to shifting my spare time away from drinking, towards writing code with React, losing weight, and saving more money.

I have to admit that drinking much less is not my desired conclusion, as I sit here drinking a very nice NEIPA.

Yet I have things to achieve. It’s time to reprioritise once more.

After one final weekend of fun.