Goals are Overrated

One thing about driving into and out of Manhattan and Brooklyn often is that I have a lot of time to think about things. Maybe too much time. Yesterday, my friend Beth called and told me that Ion Sancho, Supervisor of Elections in Leon County, Florida, was not going to run for reelection and neither was Larry Campbell, Sheriff. This morning, she called and we gossiped a bit about a former resident of Tallahassee with whom I used to work and I mentioned to her that I really appreciated these tidbits of information. “After all,” I said, “I lived in Tallahassee for 37 years. Just because I moved doesn’t mean I’ve lost all interest in the people, the city, and the politics.” This lead me to consider something I’ve thought about on my drives. Not just how much life has changed, but how the rhythm of it has changed — not day-to-day necessarily but long-term as well.

All my life (and I suspect most of yours too) there has been structure and short and long-term goals. By way of full disclosure I must say that I think of goals and objectives in terms of education and grant writing so I do understand the difference. That said, I have always had something to work toward; in 2 weeks I’ll go on vacation; in 1 year I will retire. Or, selling my house and moving. In the case of moving, getting through my first northern winter and managing year one of being on my own in a new place. There has always been something that is the goal reached, end game, or however one chooses to frame it. Now I find myself living day-to-day with no long-term goal other than having a full and satisfying life. I have asked myself if this is enough and if it’s okay.

Okay with whom? It’s a whole new way of looking at things and taking full responsibility for my life. Not a small thing since responsibility has partly been in the hands of parents, teachers, employers, colleagues, children, husband, family, and others. Now, it rests clearly on my shoulders and it requires a bit of getting used to. I find myself resisting structure of any kind — I even gave up going to exercise class because I resented the requirement of being there on a certain day at a certain time. I am a very structured person as my friends and family know too well and spontaneity does not come as easily to me as to others that I know and love, but this is not the same. Not having the long-term goal is a totally different thing. It is part of the adventure and I embrace it whole-heartedly and with great enthusiasm. That’s not to say I’m not a little scared sometimes, but the anticipation of things to come is wonderful.

2 replies on “Goals are Overrated”

  1. cousinjill says:

    Having a full and satisfying life sounds like a perfect long term goal. A great short term goal is getting a good nights sleep. In between is the adventure. You have met every challenge and are doing great. And the best is yet to come. Don’t over analyze or agonize — keep going with the flow and enjoy. There is no operational plan and you won’t have to do a monthly status report. Love you.

    • Pat says:

      Thanks. You put it so much better than I did! Yes, a good night’s sleep or making a healthy dinner or just getting the chores done to maintain the house are great short term goals!