On Wednesday, I reflected on the things high school me wanted to happen by the time I was 30. It provided quite the laugh looking back. At first, I thought about making a list of new goals for the next thirty years. I decided against that partly because it felt like a “way to end my life” list…which is kind of depressing. I also started thinking about the list and wondering if the problem lies in making one.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of the “bucket list.” There are places I want to visit in my life. There are things I want to experience. But, when it comes to setting a goal for my life…that leaves open the haunting question: what if you don’t achieve this goal? What if I do everything right and never make the New York Times Bestseller (for an extreme example)? I’m okay with setting short-term goals that propel me forward, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m missing out on what really matters. Maybe, instead of saying I’ll be happy with my life if these three to five things are achieved, I should instead look at life a little different.
I came up with this one idea. I want to be able to look back on my life and say that I grew, I made progress, and I never settled for anything less than what I want. I think these three things can apply to any aspect of my life, but I feel it especially applies to my writing. I want to grow as a writer. I may be better than a lot of people, but I am also not as good as others. There is always room to grow. I have yet to meet a writer who could say different. So, I want to grow and expand in my writing.
I want to make progress. I know that sounds a little ambiguous, but it is that way for a reason. I don’t want to say I won’t have a happy life unless fill in the blank. I want to set goals to achieve, yes. But, as long as I am not stationary, as long as I am moving forward in my life, then who cares what the end result is? I lived. I battled the roadblocks in this life. And, most of all, I enjoyed the time I have here. I am reminded too often how short life is. Enjoy it.
Lastly, I never want to settle. I say this knowing I might not achieve what society says I should. I may not find that perfect whatever. But, I think that is better than saying I settled and now regret it. I’m not sure settling will be the best option. So, I don’t want to do that. Not in my writing. Not in my life. Not in my job. Never give up, but never settle, either.
So, today I will cherish what I have and not be bummed about what I don’t. I will enjoy the day and sing Tim McGraw’s “My Next Thirty Years” knowing that the possibilities are still endless.