Reflection on Big Goals
Sunday, July 14, 2013
My SparkCoach challenge a couple days ago was to identify some big, long term goals in my life, not necessarily related to weight loss goals. I didn't have much time that day to really reflect on this so I am taking a few minutes now to think about what I have in mind for myself over the next year, five years, ten years.
I've never been someone who has her life planned out, mapped and organized. I've generally been more the type of person who takes opportunities as they come along, rather than being very proactive about identifying big goals and then working towards them. I guess that's not true in regard to weight loss, this time around, as I am extremely goal oriented and have a healthy plan on how to get there, thanks to SP.
So this isn't an easy reflection for me. So many people can just rattle off their life goals and what they are doing to meet them. In the coming year, I'll be finishing up the certification process in Applied Behavior Analysis. I've got two classes left to take, supervised fieldwork to complete and then I'll sit for the Board exam. Completing that will be very satisfying and potentially move my career forward a bit. Plus it will be good to get it off my plate... I'm nervous about trying to maintain my current commitment to fitness when my classes start up again next week, taking away a large chunk of "free" time.
I guess another "Big Goal" is to sort through all my various financial messes and start cleaning them up. I recently got promoted at work and I'll start seeing a little more money coming in. Hopefully, I'll be able to put some of that money towards old debts, student loans, that sort of thing. I'd like to be in a place where I can start feeling like I'm in control of my finances rather than always having a low bank balance hanging over my head, not knowing how to take care of emergencies when they arise. In connection with this is the goal to own my own home, rather than renting. I have a wonderful apartment and great landlords so I'm not in a hurry, but it's not the same as having my own house. There are advantages to renting, and certainly much less stress, but I want my own little piece of land with my house to make my own. That feels very out of reach right now, but as I conquer the old debts, hopefully I can start moving in that direction.
Somewhat connected with my dream home is figuring out my relationship with B. He's wonderful, very kind and supportive most of the time, but we are also stuck in a rut and our future is very foggy to me. He is clearly not in any hurry to make a lasting commitment to me and that is definitely an issue for me. I'm not getting any younger, and I want to have a lasting partnership, with a shared home and life. As time goes on, I feel like this is becoming less and less likely with B, rather than more likely. We aren't very good at communicating about our relationship, which concerns me, and I feel like he is generally content with the status quo of our relationship and with his incredibly stressful and busy job that leaves little time for us. This is a major source of stress for me, and needs some resolution in the next year or so for me to get on with my life, with or without him.
Professionally, I really don't know what I want. I just got my promotion that I've been working towards, so I'm happy to settle into my new role and get my feet under me right now. As part of my new job, I'll be starting a master's degree in special education which is going to add evern more time stress to my life, but I can add getting my teaching certificate and special ed master's to the list of "big goals" for the next few years. I'm not sure where this will ultimately lead. It would be nice to have a better paying position, but honestly, I love special education and feel very satisfied with my professional life other than the chronic financial stress. B keeps trying to get me to go into consulting, or private schools or back into science but I'm just not driven in those directions. Yes, I have the skills. Yes, I could probably get a job or start my own business. But no... I don't want to have that life. I enjoy the place that I work, my co-workers and students are wonderful, I don't dread Mondays for the most part (I mean, of course I love an extra day off here and there but in general I ENJOY going to work). That means a lot to me. I've had the jobs where I'd feel sick to my stomach just walking in the door or on the commute or that I start worrying about Sunday evening and can't sleep. That I have a place where I feel at home and valued and useful means a lot to me. The only big problem with my current job is the low pay and the poor benefits. Such is the life of a teacher...
Obviously, one concrete goal for myself is to get to my goal weight. I'd love this to happen by my 40th birthday in October, although I am also okay with not meeting that deadline, because weight loss happens on its own timetable, not mine. I'm on pace though to meet that goal and often visualize how great it will feel to be at a healthy weight as I turn 40, looking and feeling better than I have in YEARS. I have some smaller goals too, such as running my first 10k this September. I'd like to get back into hiking as I start to feel stronger and I'd love to start rock climbing again like I did in my 20s. Continuing to be active and getting stronger, faster, fitter is as important to me as my goal weight.
Another goal is just to travel more... but that one is tied into the financial piece. I want to explore the world, but it feels unattainable while struggling to make ends meet. I've never put together a "bucket list" but there are so many places in this world that I want to see, so many things I want to do, so many foods or experiences that I want to try. Somehow I need to find a way to make those things happen. I guess the question is whether trade-offs like getting a better paying job and being able to travel more and save more money are worth it, if I'm giving up some of the satisfaction I have with my current job. I don't know the answer to that question right now, although I am very committed to continuing in special education and applied behavior analysis for the time being.
So that's about it. For the most part, I just take life one day at a time, which can be a negative quality in terms of being able to reach some of these goals. I guess what I really want to do over the next year or two years is to become a little bit more financially stable and sort out my relationship with B so that I can begin thinking ahead a little more and start reaching some of the goals that feel unattainable right now (house, travel, money for retirement...). I am grateful that I have a life I enjoy, a healthy body, a curious mind, friends and family that are caring and kind, and my basic life needs are being met every day. Beyond that, everything else is just the icing on the cake, isn't it? I have very little cause for complaint compared to so many people who have much greater struggles than me... Life is good, even just one day at a time.