The whys behind my goal list

“Who will free me from hurry, flurry, the feeling of a crowd pushing behind me, of being hustled and crushed? How can I regain even for a minute the feeling of ample leisure I had during my early, my creative years? Then I seldom felt fussed, or hurried. There was time for work, for play, for love, the confidence that if a task was not done at the appointed time, I easily could fit it into another hour. I used to take leisure for granted, as I did time itself.”

– Bernard Berenson, Sunset and Twilight, from the Diaries of 1947-1958

Another well-timed Moment of Happiness quote from Gretchen Rubin. I remember having so much time. I remember time dragging. I remember wishing time would hurry up. And while I won’t say I never experience that feeling these days — when I’m in the throes of an anxiety attack, for instance, or in the dentist’s chair, or one of my kids is having an epic meltdown — for the most part time whooshes by me at an alarming rate. The best I can do some days is hold on.

Which is where my goals come in. By setting the goals I do, I’m trying to maximize my time. I can see now how much time I’ve wasted, how much time I continue to waste — I wasted half an hour lollygagging in bed this morning, for instance, and as a result probably won’t get my yoga time — and I’m trying to do something about it. Because my kids won’t be little forever. Because I won’t be able-bodied forever. Because I won’t be forever.

However, I do tend to get caught up in the hows and lose track of the whys. So I wrote this post to remind myself why I am doing (or trying to do) the things I am. There is some overlap in the whys; for example, my goal to be able to run a mile is both a challenge to myself and a step in improving my overall fitness level. I want to take professional development courses both to grow my career skill set and thus increase my earning potential, and also just to learn cool stuff. And I like that — I like taking care of multiple goals at once. But the single-focus goals are also important. They’re all bricks in the structure that is the life I’m trying to create.

My whys:

  • Be fit and healthy, with sufficient energy to do the things I need to do.
  • Stress less. Yell less. Laugh more.
  • Challenge myself to keep learning and growing.
  • Keep my family healthy and happy.
  • Create a close and loving home environment.
  • Help my children learn and grow.
  • Create mementos of this time for the kids to look back on when they are grown.
  • Make our home a pleasant place to be, as it’s where I spend nearly all of my time.
  • Create routines and habits that allow me to fit everything in.
  • Stabilize our finances so we can afford the things we want and need to do.

My biggest why, of course, is my family. I want my family to be happy and loving and close. I want my kids to have a wonderful childhood. I want them to like me enough to still want to spend time with me as adults. I get along with my parents, but the rest of my family is dysfunctional as hell, so I know the alternatives and I’m trying my best to not replicate them.

(And at the same time I’m trying not to lose sight of me and what I want and need, because if I don’t take care of me I get very, very cranky.)

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