Blinded by the End Goal

“What’s your end goal?” one of my long-term friends asks via text message. I stare blankly at the screen, dumbfounded, as I don’t have an answer, or at least not one that’s concrete in any sense. It’s a question I have been asked countless times in the past 32 years, and one that I used to have a solid answer to.  The answer has obviously changed over the years, from wanting to be a marine biologist, to hoping to be a mom at the ripe ole age of 25. Although I still have a secret love of dolphins, and still want to be a mom, these “end goals” never came to be. Heck at one point in my life I thought it was plausible to be a professional golfer, simply because at one lesson the instructor told me I was a natural. Motherhood at 25 was buried at just around the time I ended things with my high school sweetheart, and realized my inability to keep a plant alive did not make me the strongest candidate to raise a living and breathing human being any time soon. This “end goal” has disguised itself in many forms over the years, from the early renderings of the game MASH, to the career quizzes you completed as instructed by your guidance counsellor. For some reason we feel inclined to continually uncover the answer to this question from a very young age, when frankly we have been exposed to so little it’s not even plausible to think we could come up with a legitimate answer. Although not all who wander are lost, and many of my friends knew from the very beginning exactly what they wanted their lives to look like. And well here’s a big cheers to you, as the rest of us walk around blind folded carrying a bottle of wine, and a toppling pile of self-help books. Without experience how is one truly to know, and even if we do name our end goal is it ultimately what we want when we arrive? We place these ideas atop an indestructible pedestal in hopes that we can continue to keep our eye on this “ultimate prize.” Head down, full steam ahead, eliminating any distractions or detours that may take us off course. We construct our to do lists of what needs to be done in order to reach this magical end point. Tackling each task with such unrelenting focus that we often forget to up. Our vision becomes tunneled, and we forget to take a moment and look around. There is no time to pause and smell the roses, to take inventory of what life looks like. To question if this life we are building still represents what we want. It’s not possible that the road map we built at the ripe ole age of 18 could lead us off course, it’s laminated, and saved in our iCloud. However, as I sit here at 32 I realize that the map I built no longer serves me, and no longer suits the life I hope to live. In fact, I have begun to even question what the “end goal” really represents? Does this end goal really represent happiness and success or is it simply a pie in the sky way of thinking that helps us to believe we are working towards something and that we are moving forward? To be honest I wonder if this idea of the “end goal” has the power to prevent us from living the life we wholeheartedly want to live?

For someone who has always been a planner, a to do list maker, and a lover of goals these questions are new to me. There wasn’t one specific point in time that led to this new developing revelation, it was a number of things rolled into a big ball of who knows what. Most recently I was inspired by an article sent to me by one of my dearest friends, the type of friend who holds the mirror up to you when you don’t want to look. Anyways, the article linked below, called upon you to go through an exercise they called a “life audit.”  It involved 100 post it notes and you thinking of 100 wishes that you want to come true in your life. Big, small, whatever you can think of, in no particular order. From there you categorize your wishes, itemize which category has the most, and reflect on the way you are living currently and if it is conducive to helping these wishes come true. I was obviously intrigued, so the next day I selected my favourite color of post it notes from my beloved drawer of office supplies at work and headed home to brainstorm my 100 wishes. I flew out of the gates at first with wishes coming from all corners of my mind, until I hit about 45 where I started to struggle to pen anymore. I sat starring at my somewhat organized pile of wishes, placed in groups of 5, and found myself amazed at how focused they were on life experiences, on moments, and so much less so on materialistic items, money, and career. All the things I was working towards over the last almost 5 years were no longer my sole focus. Instead, these big title careers, and letters behind my name were secondary. I had uncovered that I wanted a life full of moments that opened my eyes and broke down the walls of my heart, all things I was unlikely to experience within the confines of an office. I will admit that I have yet to reach the magic mark of 100 wishes and complete the full exercise as outlined in the article, but I plan to. I believe it will be a wonderful starting point to guide me towards building this “new” perspective of life and ensure that I maintain my peripheral vision and to not forget to look around.

And with that begins the start of this blog, one of my wishes in fact. It will be a place that I flex my creative writing muscle, and share with the rest of the world my journey to build a life that fits me. So, cheers to hunting for just right, because just right can change at any moment, and the pursuit for what serves us and brings us joy will continue to change.

You’re never in the wrong place. Sometimes you’re in the right place looking at things the wrong way. – unknown

Link to the Life Audit Article:

https://medium.com/@xsvengoechea/how-and-why-to-do-a-life-audit-1d8bfbe1798

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