In recent months, and especially in the past few weeks, I have given a lot of thought to where I want to be in 5-10 years. The process has been revealing, and it reminds me of some important things about life that are easy to see, but even easier to forget as we amble through our days.
The context: I am always rushing, always striving to do/accomplish more. I am constantly wondering about what I should do professionally, frozen in indecision. I am always trying to change or improve myself, even as I claim to seek self-acceptance. I have a hard time saying “no” to interesting projects. I get up early, and I plan ahead a lot.
But when it came to where I want to be in 5-10 years, during my 50s, I came up with things like:
I want to be:
· Living comfortably in and accepting my body, my work,
my life as they are
· Creating and learning new things
· Finding time for play
· Being part of a community (being connected)
· Giving back
Funny that, when we stop to think about it, our so-called “goals” are often not centrally related to where we really want to be going. Yes, I am enjoying the book projects. Yes, I am glad that I am on a fairly secure path to full professor. Yes, I miss the thin 30-something body. In the end, though, none of that matters nearly as much as living a creative, stimulating, loving life, connected to others and to myself. I have to take care to avoid falling into the trap of “unfulfilling, superficial goals.” The effort is worth it: I think that my daily and seasonal goals are starting to come into line with my more important long-term desires and values.
Where do you want to be in 5-10 years? Are your current goals helping you to get there, or are they in your way?