Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Seeing life as a journey, not a list of goals

Less than two weeks into the new year, and already I've screwed up on one of my goals: I didn't write anything on here last week. So what now?

My first instinct is to be disappointed in myself. The old me would have said, "I've failed! I'm rubbish! I had a clear metric of what I had to do to succeed, and I didn't do it. What's the point of a goal I don't accomplish? How can I be happy if I don't accomplish what I set out to do?"

But this is the kind of thinking that made me depressed, the kind of thinking that I've been trying to exchange for something more positive, that will help me up instead of grinding me down. So I took a moment to ask: what do I actually want from life?

What I realized is that I want to approach my life the way I approach a hike, or a trip: as a journey, an experience, much more than just a list of goals accomplished. Accomplishing a worthwhile goal is great, it is satisfying, and it is something to be proud of - but in between those moments there is so much good stuff, and so much that is unexpected! And so what I am after is a whole adventure, twists and turns and struggles and setbacks and all, not a tidy list of checked-off boxes.

So, from that perspective, what is the point of a goal?
     To give me a direction, a landmark to head towards.

And how can I be happy if I don't accomplish one of my goals?
    By realizing that the journey is more important than any single goal, and that my aim is fundamentally just to keep moving forward and learning.

In the context of my blog: the truth is, right now, a blog post per week is not a trivial goal. I am still scared of writing, and overwhelmed by it, and I still don't know what environment or routines best help me write. I still don't know where this blog is headed, what it should and shouldn't include, how often I want to post, or if I should have a blog at all! It's no surprise that I faltered. But I'm still here, still brainstorming ideas for posts, still learning, still doing my best to move forward. So I think I'm doing just fine, after all.

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