A few weeks ago, a friend told me about her goal in life.
It wasn’t a career. It wasn’t a job. It wasn’t a personal goal, like starting a family, raising children. “My big life goal,” she said, “is to teach people – kids – how to think.”
I love this. After she said it, my immediate thought (self-centered soul that I am) was, “What the heck is my life goal?”
I’ve been feeling a little lost lately. For several years, the adoption wait consumed all of me. Now that I’m settling in to my happy, lovely home life, I am wondering what I really want out of the rest of my life – career, family, friends, community, adventure.
There are so many things that I want out of life. But the idea of having a big, overarching goal that guides everything I do – that is appealing. It would be a touchstone – a place to come back to when I’m not sure what the next right thing to do is.
In a way, I have this already. I am lucky enough to have a strong connection with a higher power; in moments of doubt, I am able to slow down, breathe, and feel quite clearly whether I am moving in flow with the universe or going rogue trying to achieve my own scattered agenda. It’s one of the things I am most grateful for, and I feel it very deeply when I am off-track and not in the flow.
But back to the concept of life goals.
The balance between being a new mommy and a working professional has been tricky. Before Teddy came home, I had a lot of thoughts about career goals – becoming licensed as a play therapist, starting my own private practice. I thought about these things. I considered them. I decided, for various reasons, not to move forward with them. I was chatting with a friend about it recently, and I realized that part of the problem with those goals was that they’d require me to work really, really hard and often for several years – and I do NOT want to do that. Especially now that Teddy’s home! But even when he wasn’t home yet, I didn’t have a secret wish to work as a therapist for more hours of the week. I have a full-time job, and the idea of working more than full-time does not appeal.
As a result of that conversation, I realized something.
When I think about working lots of extra hours of my life as a writer, I don’t have the same reaction.
In fact, that sounds awesome.
I chose my undergraduate university because I wanted to be a journalist. Then, about a year and a half into my college career, I stepped away from writing. There were a lot of reasons why. The big picture was that I found myself drawn to writing news stories about acts of service, and then realized that I wanted to have a career that enabled me to be a helper rather than a job writing about helpers. The more zoomed-in picture involved a botched assignment for the school newspaper, which helped me to realize that a) I don’t like talking to strangers, and b) I hate asking unsolicited or unwanted questions. So being a reporter was out.
Two years later, I took my first creative writing class, and I loved it. LOVED it. But felt like it was too late to change my major.
Then my life twisted and turned and evolved until I arrived at this moment. And at this moment, I’ve been thinking a lot about my dream of being a writer.
I still haven’t zeroed in on a life goal – an overarching commitment that can guide me along my way. But I have something to share. Even if I don’t know what it is quite yet.