They were annoying – all those ‘look at me a decade ago’ posts. Yes, yes, don’t you look just the same/even younger/differently marvelous? But honestly, the power of the internet and the potential connections of social media and we’re just wall-to-wall ‘don’t kids grow quite a lot in a decade’ content. (Note to self: delete this bad-tempered intro when you’ve found something funny or positive to say.)
I did try the looking back approach to see how far I’d come in a decade and found that the answer was ‘not very’. The only significant changes being size – both mine and the children’s. (NTS: Ditto this one.)
Looking forward it is then. It seems to me that to achieve anything, you need to know what you’re trying to do, and (more or less) how you’re going to do it. Goals, targets and aims. So I sat down to sort some out. The process was educational, here’s what I learned.
Goals are confusing – out from under the rock, it’s very hard to know what it is you should be aiming for. Saving the planet, losing the baby weight (baby now in double figures and all), living your best life (whatever that means), decluttering your home, or simply writing the best seller. Frankly, it’s exhausting, what with the ongoing task of keeping children alive and the roof over our heads.
Bonfires are a uniting force – it’s becoming a tradition, the family bonfire. A more metaphorical kind of person might notice that ours is set alight by women and generally played with by boys, but I wouldn’t.
A snapshot doesn’t do things justice – that ‘what was I doing 10 years ago’ stuff is very, very unsatisfying. Through that lens, it showed me to have failed to do much apart from eat and age. When I think about it that’s just not true. During the decade I have, among other things – published a book, earned an MLitt, got a ‘proper’ job, supported everyone, and (mostly) kept hold of my marbles.
Goals might not be goals, they might be dreams – which puts them into the ‘just grow up and be realistic’ arena. This is problematic because the JGUABR arena is full of wolves, tigers, bears and very intimidating receptionists. They will pounce on your precious dream and tear it to shreds before you’ve even placed it gently on the sand. Foolish, deluded, weird and (the killer swipe) selfish. Thumbs down.
When is it the right time – if you make it from the JGUABR arena dabbing antiseptic on your wounds and frantically hunting for a plaster, you’ll be faced with another question. When? This precious dream has been nursed for years – how do you know when it, you, and the rest of the world are ready?
Which is the right dream – then what do you do if you’ve got loads, dozens of Things You Want To Do all shouting for your attention? You can’t do them all – not now anyway – so which one do you choose? Getting anything done requires a plan, focus and some energy. Which ones are worth it?
Some goals are just distractions – there are so many ways to make ourselves feel better (in the moment, usually) or to give ourselves an illusion of control (I’m OK, I did 10,000 carb-free steps) that they can get in the way of the real issues. Sometimes something simply has to change and all the ‘adjusting the way we think about it’ in the world won’t help. Yet, on the other hand, the feel-good stuff gives you the strength to breathe life into a dream.
And the biggest issue … how can you nurture any goals when you’ll only have a few minutes in the day to yourself? Hmmmm. I hear you. (Solving this one goes to the top of the list)