I have no goals.
This time of year, full of gift lists, and resolutions, and year-in-review pieces, and making a list and checking it twice, makes it all the more clear to me. I’d noticed a slight slip in my constant drive to add one more bullet-point to the resume. I haven’t sent anything out to be considered for publication in months. I’m not scrimping and saving for any major trip or project. I’m not editing a manuscript, shooting for a promotion, trying to take up a new hobby, or signed up for Weight Watchers.
In some ways, it’s a relief. Nothing nagging in the back of my head that absolutely must be done before I can be content. But, the other side of that coin is a fear. A worry that without anything I’m desperately scraping after, that I may just stagnate, lose all momentum, stop finding adventures altogether.
Instead, I have wishes. I wish I had a washer and dryer in my apartment. I wish I could afford a new laptop. I wish I had a full book manuscript, ready to be sent out to agents and editors. I wish I could drop those ten (ok, fifteen) pounds that come with being in a happy relationship and big home-cooked meals every night. I wish I didn’t smoke as much. I wish I was outside more often.
The thing about wishes is that they come with no plan. I haven’t called anyone about the washer/ dryer hook-ups. I haven’t saved a penny or made a budget for the laptop. I haven’t been writing a few hours every day to get a manuscript together. I don’t work out or eat more vegetables. I’m smoking more. I stay on the couch.
An acquaintance of mine won a fellowship for her poetry and has been assigning herself “homework” of sorts. To read x amount of books. To finish her artist’s statement by x date. To create a spreadsheet, to apply for a fellowship, to write every day. And in only six months, she has accomplished an amazing amount- given readings in several states, been a finalist in a book contest, and won more fellowships for the future.
As the year wraps up, another birthday approaches (the big 3-5, no less), and winter comes in, driving me housebound, it’s time for me to give myself some homework. Otherwise, I’m just sitting around making wishes.