From a very young age we are told to set goals. These goals are usually on a timeline, and are pretty generalized from the beginning. They may develop into more specific goals as you get older and figure out what it is you really want from life, but I feel like people don’t always get to that point in there life. This one is for those people, including myself.
The goals people set for themselves are generally the same across the board. Get an education, get a career, fall in love, get married, have kids, live happily ever after. Riiiight.
These goals and this life that we are practically expected to live is just not realistic. We are human, we have individuality. We can’t be limited to one set of goals, but society likes to make it seem like we are. I promise, you’re not limited.
This blog was sparked by another blog I had just read that started making me think about my life, my goals, and whether or not I’ve reached them. It made me realize that at this time in my life I don’t have a single goal. I don’t know what I want from life, if anything. I don’t know where I want to be right now, and I don’t know where I want to be in the future. And that’s okay.
So, just like the blog linked above, I’m going to reflect on my goals from high school, 5 years ago. But I’m going to talk about my goals during high school first.
I remember in Freshman year my English teacher had us write our future selves a letter. In this letter we had to list our goals, and during our Senior year we would get these letters back and see what we have accomplished in our high school career. I was really excited about it, and honestly couldn’t wait for the next 4 years of my life to go by so I could see what I accomplished.
If I can recall correctly, my goal was simple. I wanted to graduate high school with a high GPA, and I wanted to make academic merit (I believe that was a 95% GPA or higher, could be wrong) at least for one quarter. I graduated high school (yay!), but I never made academic merit. How did I expect to when I spent my first quarter of high school failing English simply because I didn’t want to do homework? Pft, stupid little freshman.
There was one more goal in my letter that I think I did achieve. I wanted to “be good”.
Now, what does that really even mean? That was left up to me to interpret.
My middle school consisted of 2 grades, 7th and 8th. I know a lot of middle schools have 3 grades, usually including 6th, but mine only had 2. That is irrelevant to this story, but my middle school science teacher told us at the end of 8th grade, to “be good”.
He told us a story that I can’t really remember too much of, but it had to do with his father constantly telling him to be good. He didn’t really understand what that meant, because he felt he was good, and his brother was never told that, and was never good. He asked his father why he tells him to be good when he always is, and in all honestly I can’t remember why, but the moral of the story was to literally do what you were told, and be good.
Be good in everything you do. Put in 100% of your effort into the things that you do and that you want to accomplish. Be good to yourself, to your friends, family, strangers. Be good. Do what’s right. Do what you believe to be good.
This stuck with me this whole time, almost 10 years later. Whether or not it was a true story doesn’t matter. It stuck, I wanted to be good. And I truly believe I have reached that goal and will continue to do so throughout the rest of my life.
Everything that I have done in my life I have tried to do the right way. I am kind to everyone that I meet, and help anyone that I can. I obey the law, follow the unwritten rules. I show up to work on time, I do what I’m supposed to. I try my best to care for myself and my loved ones. I respect nature, I respect the life I’ve been given and try not to abuse any privileges I have. I try not to take anything for granted. Being good is hard, it really is, but I’m doing it.
When I was in my senior year, reading my letter to myself, I reflected on the things that had happened specifically that made me feel like I achieved that goal, my friend circle. In elementary school and middle school, I befriended a couple people that I would later find to be terrible people. Since 6th grade, the one friend was really rude to others all the time. She would always talk to me about another girls’ weight in class, and I never understood why. In middle school, it was her and another girl that I was close with. Both terribly judgmental and just all around negative people. When I got to high school and set that goal to “be good”, I dropped my friends like a hot pan and found another group of people who turned out to be amazing. There was definitely still typical friend drama, but they were all genuinely kind-hearted souls.
I’m proud to say I made friends with good people, and in turn I think they helped me reach my goal. I really believe that the people you associate yourself with affects your life directly. Some people can befriend all types of people and still remain the same humble person that they are. But most people’s personalities, likes, dislikes, etc, can be molded based on the kind of people that person hangs out with. At this point in my life I feel like I have a very accurate perception of people and can limit my contact with negative people and befriend good people. Whenever I get bad vibes about someone, some future event proves me to be right, so I’ve stuck by my gut.
Unfortunately, reaching my goal in high school did not mean that I would make viable goals and reach them after high school. Let’s talk about those.
My goals after high school were very standard. Go to college, become an Earth Science teacher, move out of the house and potentially the state, and somewhere within the chaos of life, fall in love and get married. I never wanted kids, so that was never a part of my goal (and still isn’t), but I know a lot of other people have that on their list.
So, what did I accomplish? Nothing. I’m technically moved out of my house, but my legal address is still my mom’s house, so I’m not counting it, especially since my rent has been non-existent for my whole life, up until October 2017 where I’ll start paying only $100/month. That reminds me, I only have 10 more days living rent free. Adulting sucks!
I almost achieved my goal of falling in love and getting married, but I cannot express enough how glad I am that I didn’t. We’ll leave the rest of that in the past, but I am happy to say that now I actually reached half of that goal by falling in love. I’m madly in love with my boyfriend, like it’s the real deal this time. It’s the nicest feeling in the world to be in real love. We can worry about the marriage thing when we’re ready for that chapter of our lives.
I didn’t go to college, I’m never going to be a teacher unless I get some job that doesn’t require a degree that is a training position. That’s okay though, because I don’t want to be a teacher anymore. I stopped wanting to be a teacher 5 years ago.
I am honestly glad I didn’t reach the goals that I set for myself after high school, because they were unrealistic for me from the beginning. I was never going to go to college, I fell out of love with teaching while I was coming to the end of my senior year. Without a steady income or a hefty savings account, you can’t (you can, but shouldn’t) move out, especially to a new state. And you can’t force yourself to fall in love, and shouldn’t get married for any reason other than love. Why I thought these were achievable goals for me was simple, society said that’s how it should be.
When we are all setting the same goals like that, something is wrong. We set these silly rules and expectations that we all must follow or we won’t be “normal”. We will be different and different is bad in society’s eyes. But normal is bad in my eyes. Why would I set goals for myself that I couldn’t possibly reach, or if I did reach them I would be unhappy, I wouldn’t be myself. Why would anyone want that for themselves? We don’t.
I challenge anyone who reads this to really think about the goals that you have set for yourself. Throw them away if you have to, completely start over. Set new goals for yourself, goals that actually pertain to you. Don’t generalize them, specify them. And if you don’t achieve your goal, extend the date! Or don’t set a date at all. Don’t give up! You have your whole life ahead of you to accomplish what you need to. Make sure it is truly what you want and need for yourself to be truly happy.
And remember, be good.