Oh 2017. What an interesting year. And I say “interesting” with the same tone of voice that your disapproving aunt mentions your drummer boyfriend.
I’m starting the process of doing a retrospective of the past year and to be honest I’m having a hard time putting a name to the theme of 2017. If I had to (at least right now) I’d probably say the theme of the year was “wandering”. Not quite so bewildered as to be considered lost but definitely not focused in the way that I would need to be to achieve the kind of precise and momentum building type of accomplishments that I would have liked to.
This year felt a bit like splashing a lot of paint on the wall. Some things that I thought I would love – I grew bored of. The things that I’m most proud of are of course the things that required the most from me. The things that really made me happy had less to do with goals and success and more to do with long standing relationships and being able to spend down time relaxing. Either I’m getting old or more mature.
One of the problems I think I’m running into is that for so long, I have defined my happiness according to the size or difficulty of the accomplishments I’ve been able to conquer. I can’t decide if my lassitude is caused by me not choosing big enough goals and being more aggressive about them this year or if I need to the opposite and find meaning in something other than goal pursuit.
One thing that has been on my mind has been finding a way to re-define myself and pursue goals in fields that are more artistic and require more faith.
I feel the hands of time turning faster and faster on me. I see my parents and co-workers getting older and know that means time must also be working its deadly magic on me. This makes me sometimes break into a cold sweat – the fact that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
What’s interesting is that even though I feel the hands of time bearing down upon me, I’m starting to understand that the only way I’ll find true success and forward movement is if I narrow my focus and choose one or two significant projects (at max) and pour myself into them.
I’m pondering what those goals will be. How does one narrow one’s focus enough to make an impact? What level of sacrifice am I willing to make to see my dreams come true? A deep relationship with my children? A marriage?
How does one decide what to focus on? Or is this constant reassessing an artifact of my personality type (INTJ)?
To be honest my feelings about 2017 vacillate between satisfaction and frustration. I’m happy with the turn toward self-care 2017 took. Sometime during the year I realized that money in and of itself is pretty useless for me. Having enough money to pursue the goals that stimulate me and move me towards my dreams and passions makes the money meaningful. Seth Godin mentions this often. About how money is a story. And that once we’ve reached the point of “enough” money from that point forward is a story that we are telling ourselves. Oft-mentioned research notes that $70,000 is number at which money stops affecting our happiness. I’m often asking myself the question “are there any ways in which money can improve my present or future happiness”? And not being afraid of releasing the money in order to improve my happiness.
I’m thinking that 2018 has to be focused on buckling down and focusing on creating the future that I imagine. I’m thinking that 2018 will be focused on stretching myself to the edge of my comfort zone in order to grow into the person I dream of. This may mean long hours, focusing on goals, and maybe allowing people to get closer than they have in the past.
I think that I’m going to end my rambling now. Here’s to figuring it out.