My husband and I are very different in that he is a long-term planner type, setting goals, achieving them and then moving the goal post a little further out. I tend to dream big and achieve small. I’ve started to suspect, as I near 30, that I might be one of those people who peaked early in life, and not even in a cool way, like the all-star high school quarterback of a small-town football team. All throughout my childhood and adolescence, people told me how smart I was, how I would do great things, that I had “leadership potential” and on and on. I took those adult words of encouragement to heart in middle school, when I was awkward with braces and long limbs I hadn’t yet grown into. As I got into high school, I wasn’t any less smart, but I became more interested in other things. In some respects, this made me an exceptionally well rounded college applicant, but in other ways, I began to lose my focus, yearning for acceptance and exciting relationships more than making plans for my future. Once away at university, I was focused on being a good student, and I excelled. Instead of pursuing my own future though, I allowed myself to be shifted by the relationship I was in and focused on my emotional present instead of a whole future. Similar reasoning led me to grad school, which I justified as a good move for my career but then failed to make it into a long-term move.
I’m not unhappy with where I am in life by any means. But the new year is a time of reflection, as we know, and I think I could certainly stand to be more purposeful and satisfied in my career. I know that I am intelligent and capable, but the planning has totally eluded me, somehow. I have watched my husband build and then switch careers, starting from the bottom and building again. He is excited about what he does–able to honestly answer “great” when people ask him how work is going. I want that. I think admitting I want more is a good first step. Figuring out what exactly “more” entails is probably an important second step. Rather than whirling around and then landing on the first opportunity presented to me, I should pause and think about what might serve me beyond the next year or two. What can I do to build the life I want? What is the life I want? Then, the hard part, figuring out how to get there. I’m so impressed by people who make and meet professional goals. Objectively I know making changes isn’t that hard, but I often feel overcome with the weight of all that lies in front of me. Maybe that should be step four. Become less overwhelmed, in general, by life.
So this is my long-winded 2016 resolution. It boils down to “Figure out what I want and then go do it.” It seems to me like a luxury, to do what I want, but the older I get, the more I realize it is a necessity. Life was not made for toiling away without pleasure. So here I go, ready to follow my gut (but with a stable, logical plan!) and find my path.