Five by Five- My Quest for Greatness


For the last while I have been back and forth with lots of different stuff. Studying, family life, but the general theme is wanting to move forward. But do you know what the hardest thing is about trying to move forward? It’s knowing where to start. Sometimes the journey for self-improvement starts with the decision to move forward.

Like everyone else on this planet, I have a story to tell but I’ll save my life story (with all the gritty details) for my autobiography. Trust me, if I ever get around to writing it, you will want to read it. Especially if you are a big drama whore. I’m not judging you for that, I’m just warning you that I can provide your drug of choice.

Anyway, I digress. Let’s focus on the present drama rather than the past. My present drama started around 5 years ago, I won’t go into the details because it’s an interesting and dark chapter in my life which has transformed into something wonderful. Right now in my life I have my wonderful husband, two amazing kids, a roof over my head, and a bun in the oven. I’m healthy, happy, and have a lot more in my life than a lot of other people. And I’m not complaining, not in the slightest. If life gets no better than this, then I am content with what I have. That being said, there are areas that I would love to work on, hence my decision for self-improvement. Not change. Improve.

If I am honest, I kind of hate TV. I think a lot of programs are boring and unimaginative. I prefer educational shows. But the channels that show educational shows tend to repeat them over and over and over….there never seems to be anything new. So I find myself watching some shit show for the sake of having the TV on and justifying the Sky subscription and having to pay a TV license (which if you follow me on Twitter, you will know I bitch about every chance I get).  But I don’t actually enjoy some of the shows that I watch. I love Bones, the DC shows like The Flash and Arrow, and re-runs of old 90’s shows such as X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A lot of the TV shows that I like, I buy on DVD so I can watch them again.

One day my daughter was glued to the TV, watching something. When I asked her what it was, she replied that she didn’t know, she wasn’t really watching it and it was just on. I kind of lost it a bit. There was my daughter, zoned out while the TV was on, wasting her time. Then I realised how much time I had wasted watching shows that I didn’t like, just for the sake of watching TV. Now, don’t get it wrong, I don’t hate TV and believe that it is the root of all evil. I just hate it for wasting my TV, making me lazy, and being lazy with some of its shows. In the hours that I have wasted, watching shows I don’t like, I could have learnt new skills. I could be speaking a new language, mastered an art form, learnt how to use the English language properly (something which I know I butcher on a daily basis). But instead I ended up watching some show that was as entertaining to me as a colonoscopy performed with no lube and a doctor with cold hands. But there is no-one to blame for this but myself, so I hate myself and TV. TV will probably never change but I can, and I choose not to watch bad shows, lazy channels, and waste my time anymore.

So, where am I going with this rant about TV? And why bring TV into this if I am wanting to learn new skills? Simple. TV was the inspiration for wanting to improve some things in my life. Hey, who said that what inspired you had to be something that you love? Like I said earlier, I’m a big fan of Bones and Buffy, and they became the inspiration for changing stuff. Welcome to the 5 by 5 system!

“5 by 5” was something that Faith used to say on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but did anyone really know what it meant? I didn’t but I liked the sound of it. I decided to use the idea of 5 by 5, or 5×5, as a way to make those improvements I keep meaning to do.

Pick five areas you want to see a change. My five are-

# Language- I really want to speak a couple of different languages, I was actually really good at French at one stage but lost the skill after not practicing for years.

# Music- I tried to learn the guitar as a teenager but didn’t stick with it at all. But I hear that playing an instrument can help keep the mind sharp and stress levels down. What’s not to love about that?

# Craft- As a woman, I’m kind of embarrassed that I can’t sew and mend clothing, something that was second nature to women only a couple of generations ago. And with the economy in the state it’s in, learning to “make do and mend” would not be a bad skill to have. Plus, I would love to be able to make my own clothes. I’ve a style that is all my own, I might as well express it with some hand made creations.

# Adventure skills- Ever look at someone’s Facebook or Twitter and think “Asshole. Jumping out planes. Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Skiing holiday in the Alps. Blah!” Yeah, I envy them and want to be that person too. There is no shame in it. I just need the skills to do stuff like that.

# Exercise- You can’t swing a vegan by their potatoes without someone yapping on about health and fitness these. That’s all well and good you posing in the gym after a workout but I find the gym boring. I want to exercise but not like the fitness gurus of Instagram do.

Then divide these five areas into five-

# Language- French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Irish.

# Music- Guitar, Recorder, Volin, Saxophone, Piano.

# Craft- Knitting, Crochet, Cross stitch, Calligraphy, Origami.

# Adventure skills- scuba diving, flying (plane), archery/shooting, skiing/snowboarding, rock climbing.

# Exercise- Swimming, Dancing, Martial Arts, Yoga, Sports.

Ok, exercise is kind of flawed because there are so many different forms of dancing, martial arts and sports that you could do.

Notice that I didn’t mention job or career in this plan? There is a very simple reason for this, I love to write and I’m still studying. As far as my current “job” as a writer, I have plenty of self-improvement to do and plenty of new skills to learn. The skills that I have listed here are not just for personal benefit but professionally they will serve me well too. When I grow up, I want work as a criminal profiler and solve cold cases across the world. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Want to follow along and see how I get on with all of this? There are subscribe buttons and options on here somewhere. Or head over to Twitter and follow me there for random tweets and updates when they happen. I also tweet when a new post is up on here. If you fancy following along the crime side of things, here is my other site (it’s a work in progress so be nice). If you feel inspired to do your own version of 5×5, then send me a tweet or drop a comment below. I’ll cheer you on!


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