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.