The one about goals

The new year is in full swing. Almost a month in I find myself still thinking about what habits I want to cultivate or change in 2014. For me, making concrete resolutions is just a way to ensure failure. It puts too much pressure on my perfectionist side. If I can’t do something perfectly I loose the motivation to do it at all. This isn’t a good thing by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve discovered a way to combat it a bit. I make my goal much smaller and less concrete. So instead of saying I’m going have personal devotional time every morning for half an hour I’ve decided to make sure I begin my day with God in some way. That sometimes means a half hour in the Bible listening to worship music. But, on days where all I manage is a quick prayer and Bible verse I don’t feel badly; I’ve still hit my goal.

What’s really been on my mind is changing goals. There are a lot of reason we change our goals. They are unrealistic, we achieve it and realize we don’t want it, we realize before we reach it we don’t want it, and sometimes we change our goals because we think we have to. I’ve found myself contemplating how that last reason has affected my life. As a child the first thing I said I wanted to be when I grew up was a teacher. This pretty much only lasted through the first grade and I think I only said that because my own mother was a teacher and being a student I was surrounded by them all the time.

After teacher the next thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a writer. I was always scribbling stories down, imagining long drawn out plots for novels, and attempting to write plays. For years when someone asked “Janelle what do you want to be when you grow up?” The response was always “A writer.” I never thought about how to become a writer. I just wanted to be one.

Reality slapped me across the face when I was getting ready to go college. The reality slap had a name, and it was picking a major. All of sudden I realized there was no such major as “author”. Suddenly life stopped being about what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to be an English major because I had no desire to teach after college. I didn’t want to be a journalism major because of all the types of writing, journalism was the one I enjoyed the least. Maybe I just became an Advertising and Public Relations major not because I had a passion for those subjects but because that was all that was left. Did I enjoy my classes? Yes. Did I feel passionate about what I was going to do? No. But that’s okay right? We don’t always feel passionate about our careers. I could be passionate about others things in my life; my church, my relationships, my hobbies. Like a pair of shoes that don’t quite fit over time I convinced myself I was totally comfortable in my choices. Sure I had some blisters on my feet but who didn’t get blisters. That’s part of wearing shoes sometimes. Right?

Post college seemed to continue the exercise of no over yes. Four years out and I still don’t really know what I want to do. I know lots of things I don’t want to do; I don’t want to work for a big advertising or PR firm, I don’t want to be a graphic designer. I don’t want to design websites. I don’t want to work in politics. I don’t want to teach. I don’t want to be a journalist.

I don’t want

I don’t want

I don’t want

STOP

What do I want? What do I love to do? The answer is simple.

Write.

I want to write. I love to write. I’ve always loved to write. Writing is easy even when it’s hard. I feel like I’m being the truest version of myself when I write. When did I decide that writing wasn’t enough? Was it when the world around me told me I had to be realistic? You can’t just write. You can write AND.

Write AND teach

Write AND be a graphic designer

Write AND be in advertising or PR

Write AND

These aren’t things people have said to me as much as they are things I’ve said to myself. I have to be a grown up. Writing is all well and good as a hobby but you can’t live that way. The amount of people who make a living just being a writer is infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things. Don’t be silly. Stop being a child. Grit your teeth and make it through. Work at a grown up job and who cares if the shoes don’t fit and give you blisters; you’ll get used to it.

I’m done with that. 2014 is the year that I stop living my life in a negative space. It’s the year I begin saying I love instead of I hate. Of saying I want instead of I don’t want. This is the year I’m honest to myself and those around me. So here it goes. Honesty

I want to write.

That’s all I’ve got so far. I want to write. I don’t know anything beyond that and you know what? I’m done trying to see beyond that. I’m going to live in this present space. I want to write and I’m going to figure out how to be the person 8 year old Janelle always knew she wanted to be. An author. Look out world. I’m coming.

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