Twice a year, I write goals. New Year’s Day, with everyone else, and my birthday, with people who like to write goals on August 8th. You’d think I’d only need to write annual goals, you know, annually, but writing goals and reaching them don’t always coincide as much as I’d like; ergo, I give myself two start dates.
After I wrote my fresh, crisp goals for my own personal new year, I realized for the first time how flat they were. Not because I don’t have grand goals, because, oh, I do. (Although, I read somewhere that people tend to overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in five... something to think about.)
Regardless, it’s not that my goals lack zest, the problem is, they’re nouns. We live via verbs, active verbs. Even if my goals have verbs in them, they are still things to be collected, like feathers on a headdress.
I’m not sure that checking things off a list is a recipe for a good life. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in goal setting wholeheartedly. My unofficial motto is: your dreams will never come true if you don’t have any. (It’s unofficial because I like mottos too much to commit to just one; I have a weakness for mottos.)
I guess my point is, it’s great to have goals, even better to reach them, but it is not a list of achievements but a way of living that differentiates a well-lived life.
Of course I would be (will be! Go optimism!) ecstatic if (when!) I am able to achieve all of the goals I have set for myself this year, but I also have a coordinating list of pure verbs to remind me that living takes place in the doing.
My list of verbs? Nurturing, writing, throwing, cooking, hiking, organizing, planning, and, as always, smiling. The idea is to do a little more of these -ings and a little less of some less than productive -ings and hopefully some of those birthday goals will be met along the way. And if not, well, the New Year is coming...
I like to throw things.