About this time last year, I posted about letting ourselves have the ability to change and adapt goals. I thought about it when watching a friend’s daughter graduate high school. Now, as I turn thirty at the end of the week, I have started thinking about this idea of goals and dreams once more. I started looking at the goals I set as a high school student and reflected on how they have changed. I thought I’d share because they really are silly looking back.
Goals set by high school me for “by the time I’m 30.”
1. To have an agent. In fact, this was more of a five year
goal. I should have had one by 25…or 21…or like right out of high school. I was
convinced I could just write a ton of query letters and eventually “Bam!” the
agent of my dreams would fall into my lap and all my dreams would be achieved.
After all, I’m better than the other person and I deserve it.
2. I would have a big time publisher who would love my
books, be patient with what I wanted to write and when I finished, and work
with me to make sure I was “successful.” (I’m not even sure this reality exists…)
3. To be writing for a living. To clarify, not just writing
in a “writing job.” No, I was going to get my degree—at the time I had no idea
in what, but it didn’t matter. I would get my degree because my parents said I needed
to and then I would scrap it when I “made it big.” Once that happened, I’d just
write all day long without a care for market, readership, and trends. I would
just write for the love of writing.
4. I would have a husband who adores my writing and helps me
create stories. I would have a family who would not take away from my writing
time that I could share my joys with. (I blame books and TV for this delusion)
I think the obvious trouble with these goals is that they
are not realistic. Of course, most teenagers don’t understand the “real” world.
Things are small and easy and fair. I would get everything I wanted because,
after all, I worked hard and did things the way I was “supposed to.” I think
this misconception comes from our childhood. Everything has to be fair growing
up. The world doesn’t always work that way. The biggest idea coming out of my
20’s is that someone can do everything “right,” whatever that means, and still
not get what they want. But, even if they are achievable, my desires change as
the world and I change. Maybe I don’t want some of those anymore. Maybe they
don’t fit or the market is changing so they are not the best. It is fun to look
back and mock our perceptions…as long as we are still setting goals and
striving to achieve them. But, we must also be flexible and adapt to not only
the real world but also to what will be best for us.