Whew, that was a heck of a week. Busy, busy busy. But now we are here with some time on our hands. Fantastic!
I had a friend lament to me in an email this week that his life was boring, full of work he didn’t really enjoy and leisure pursuits that didn’t actually entertain him. In the olden days before our modern age of convenience, this kind of boredom was kept at bay by the vicious struggle to simply survive from day-to-day. Working a back-breaking 12 hour day doesn’t leave you with very much energy to fret about anything other than tomorrow. You don’t really have any spare time to waste. As a side-effect to our comfort and light work load here in the first-world, we have a lot of time to fill.
But, even during my sensationalized version of the past, there were people who had excess capacity, people who could manage to survive and thrive and still have the mental and emotional energy left over to look for something more. And I’m sure many of them had ye olde same problem of being bored: it would explain the bewildering aspects of popular fashion and culture, like giant powdered wigs or white face makeup full of lead. A lot of a civilization’s spare time is used up by disposable and empty fun, but some people are lucky enough to find something more fulfilling to occupy that time. They decide upon a bigger purpose, an overall theme to their life narrative. Very simply, they have a big, long-term goal.There are a few pitfalls to avoid when you look for your Big Goal.
Don’t set your sights too low, for a start. Achieving your Big Goal will throw you for a loop, and put you back in the position of searching for a new direction, so aim a little higher than “my big goal is to re-carpet the living room”.
Have some kind of timeline in mind. If there’s no structure at all to your Big Goal plan, then it’s really just a meandering daydream.
Pick something that you’ll have to do a significant amount of work in several different areas to achieve. If it only requires the skills you already possess, it won’t work.
Pick something that seems almost impossible, based on your current abilities. You’re going to grow into it, trust me.
Learn to accept the wisdom in the saying “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey” even if it sounds trite.
You may never achieve your Big Goal, but that is beside the point. You are aiming to accumulate the skills and experience that you would need to reach your Big Goal, skills and experiences that are rewarding and useful on their own. I will give you my crazy Big Goal: are you prepared? It;s pretty out there. Ready?
I want to be Prime Minister.
Whoa. That is one giant goal. Pretty unlikely too. But, let’s look at the composite elements before we throw the whole idea away.
Most Prime Ministers assumed office in their early 50s. I am 36 now, so I have 16 years. That’sa lotta time.
You need to be an active part of your community to be suitable for public office. I want to increase my volunteer and charity efforts anyway.
You need to be comfortable talking with strangers in person and on the phone. I need and want to beat my telephone/ stranger fear, and you only overcome anxiety like that by practicing.
You need to be active within your political party of choice. I love the idea of rebuilding the Liberal party from the ass-whuppin’ it took in the election. Plus, I could do charity work in my LIberal shirt and kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
You need to be bilingual to run the whole country. I’ve thought about improving my high school-level Francais before, and now I have a reason to etudie le belle langue. I know, I have a lot of work to do.
You need an understanding of how government and Canadian law work. I did a practice Law School Admissions Test out of curiosity the other day, and I liked it. I did pretty well too.
To go to law school, you need good marks in your completed undergraduate degree. I have thought about finishing my degree, but I never really had a compelling reason to do so. I have that reason now.
To pay for all of this schooling, I need to earn money. My first book is going up for sale shortly, and I’ll see how much of an audience I can count on for future books.
To sell future books, I need to keep writing. Luckily, I like writing and I’m thrilled with my continuing improvement.
To accomplish any of this, I need to have a loving family, and I need to be a good dad. Check and check.
It’s funny that I imagine a chorus of disapproving and shocked naysayers, all shouting at the ridiculousness and audacity of my Big Goal, when everyone around me has actually been pretty supportive. There’s that pesky internal criticism and lack of self-esteem. Self-esteem is on the list of things I need to improve. Will I ever actually become the Prime Minister of Canada? Who knows, and more importantly, who cares? I have a lot of cool things to do.