From the time children are born they have goals to achieve. First it’s as simple as just growing, then they need to learn to walk and talk so that they can so to school. Once in school, the goal each year is to keep advancing to the next level. Then comes time to set sights on getting into a particular college. Until senior year, the goal is to get good enough grades and have the maximum amount of fun possible, maybe test the limits of your alcohol tolerance. Then comes that next goal looming in the horizon: the entry level job. Or maybe it’s yet more schooling in the form of a graduate degree. School’s up, you’ve got the job. The next goals start to become fuzzy for different people at this point in life. Some people see landing a spouse as the next goal, where others would prefer to secure their first home. Some people still yet, want to go back for more schooling(!).
I have set my sights for, and attained all of these goals I’ve mentioned here (with the exception of yet more advanced schooling past a bachelor’s degree). Graduated high school, college, got an entry level job, bought a house, got married, got a better job, and now I am wondering what’s next. Children are not in the plan, so I feel adrift in life without a Next Big Thing to look forward to, except for moving up in my career which also feels like a pretty aimless path as well. There are no milestones or guideposts to look towards to make sure that I am going in the right direction, towards The Place that I want to be.
It is much easier to get caught up in the repetition and minutiae of each week instead of looking at the bigger picture, but it’s scary to think that I could look up in 10 years and not know what I’ve done other than going to the grocery store every week, vacuuming up dog hair, or keeping everyone in the house alive and well. Those are, of course, all good and necessary things to do, but I want to be able to track the progress of something. It’s so much easier to start with the seed of a plan and watch it expand and grow to know that I am doing something right. Maybe this is why people have children. You can tangibly tell that you are doing your job by the fact that the kid keeps growing bigger and learning more things each month and year.
The only things that I can think of that are goals are my “if I win a million dollars” type goals. If I won a million dollars I would pay off the house/buy a boat/pay a local vet to spay and neuter as many pets as they could/start a gourmet ice cream truck business. But I don’t yet have a million dollars, so I’m still here at the fork on the path of life deciding which way is going have the best guideposts to follow.
What do you do after you have achieved all of the expected goals? Where do you start when you have to decide and make your own?