Letting go of goals

I began 2012 feeling desperate: desperate for a new job, desperate for friends, and desperate to be some kind of successful adult again. When I wrote out my life goals last January the long list really summed itself up in 3 points: get a good job, find a good man, and stop living with my parents. Like any good life goals or new years resolutions, I haven’t really achieved any of them, and honestly, it’s ok.

Goals are great. Not achieving them is OK too.

Think of all of the goals you’ve had over the last few years… have you accomplished all of them? I haven’t. In the beginning I felt guilty, worthless, and like a huge failure. Now, after a year of failing, I’ve learned the most important lesson to be learned: it is ok if you’re not achieving anything. Before you quit your job, stop exercising, and permanently plant yourself in front of your XBox, let me explain.

My whole existence is summed up in goals.

It has been said that I have been thirty years old since I was six. My whole life has been lived to grow up. Every skill gained, every battle fought, every relationship lived, has been a critical stepping stone in my process of being an adult. This is just the way God wired me. When a challenge is put before me, I meet or exceed it. Failure is rarely an option. Now, this would be a great mentality if I was training for the Olympics or something, but probably not the best life motto.

While goals are great, you will often miss the rare and beautiful things happening on the sidelines.

I missed out on high school because I was too busy trying to be a brilliant college student. I missed out on part of college because I was too busy trying to build a career. I missed out on several friendships because I was too busy pursuing someone that was more valuable to me. I lost a great man because I was too focused on the one fella that was so unobtainable it’s still hilarious 5 years later. Because my goals became my identity I forgot to stop and smell the (cliche) roses.

Yes, I’m still living my life with my three goals in mind: good job, good man, and a home. But instead of being so laser focused 200% of the time, I’m learning to keep my eyes on the sidelines, slow down and stop speeding by those people and experiences that have the ability to make me a better person. The gentle whispers, the racing heartbeats, and awkward nudges in uncomfortable directions are no longer being ignored. As much as I’m tired of “living on the edge” and keeping my goals at bay, I haven’t regretted it yet. From a new group of friends, a new job, and new opportunities popping up periodically, perhaps the sidelines aren’t such a bad place to stop and explore every once and a while.