Thursday, August 7, 2014

Update on the Goals I Set for Myself in January

Back on the second day of January, in my first blog post of the year, I stated six goals I was setting for myself for 2014. I thought I'd go back and revisit those goals today to see how I'm doing so far.

As a reminder, I set "goals" instead of "resolutions" because a resolution is, by definition, "A firm decision to do or not do something." As I see it, with a resolution you either succeed or you fail. It's an absolute. If you resolve to quit smoking and 10 days into the new year you light up a cigarette, you're done. You did not stick to your resolution.

A goal, on the other hand, is "The object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result." A goal is not an absolute. It's something you strive for. You choose something you want to do or accomplish, you see the end result, and you take steps to get there. If you don't reach your goal--at least in theory--you'll have made significant steps toward getting there. "Progress, not perfection" is perfectly acceptable.

So, with that in mind, here's my update:

I think I'm rocking this goal. For the most part, I approach each day for what it is--a gift. I don't dwell on the past or worry (too much) about the future. I take things as they come, deal with them, and try to stay positive no matter what. Example: I left a 24-year career in publishing back in December and am still looking for work. But even though it's been eight months, I'm not letting it bring me down. One day at a time. It sounds cliche, but we don't even know if we'll be around tomorrow. Best to live life to its fullest every day.

I've been a lead advocate for Heroes in Recovery since early this year. Along with the four other lead advocates, I've spent a lot of time collecting stories of recovery for the Heroes website, writing blogs, and doing events. All of this activity is intended to spread the word about the Heroes movement, break the stigma associated with substance abuse and mental health disorders, and encourage people who need treatment to seek it out without being ashamed or scared. Am I making a difference? That's hard to measure, but I certainly feel like I am. And I will continue to work hard as a lead advocate until my term is up.

Back in January, I wrote: "It took a long time for me to figure it out, but life's too short to spend the majority of your time working at a job you're not crazy about. I've decided it's not all about money. It's about enjoying what you do and feeling fulfilled." Unfortunately, I'm still looking for a job I can say I'm passionate about. I've inquired about many jobs in the last eight months, and applied for a few of them. One of them was a true "dream job": it was an editor position at To Write Love on Her Arms. I have mad respect for that organization and would've loved to have worked for them. But, it wasn't to be. Maybe my higher power thought relocating to the east coast of Florida wasn't the best thing in the world for me. Or maybe he or she has something better in mind for me. Regardless, I am keeping the faith that I'll be able to land a job that has meaning to me. Like I said in January, "Setting out to find a job I'm truly passionate about at my age might be nuts. But that doesn't mean I can't try." I'm not ready to give up just yet.

This goal was accomplished on Saturday, June 7th. On a beautiful, sunny day in Glen Arbor, Michigan, I got to sit outside and watch my son graduate from The Leelanau School, a school I dubbed "The Greatest High School on Earth" in a blog post back in April. The day was everything I thought it would be...and more; especially because my older son was there with us to witness it. Surprisingly, I didn't bawl my eyes out as I suspected I would. But I did feel an enormous sense of pride, especially when the headmaster read my son's name and he walked up on stage to get his diploma. The accomplishment of this goal even came with a bonus: My son applied to and was accepted by Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and will be starting there later this month. We move him into his dorm on August 21st! I truly believe this would never have happened without The Leelanau School. I am forever grateful for everyone associated with that amazing institution.

Like I said back in January, "My wife and I are 'givers' and try to help people as best we can." We continue to do so and I don't think we'll ever stop. This year we have counseled more parents who are going through their child's addiction, cooked Sunday dinner for the men at a sober living house (twice), done many random acts of kindness, and donated what we can to causes and organizations we believe in. I also recently became a parent coach for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. In this role I will provide peer-to-peer support to parents who call the Partnership's help line and want to talk to a parent who has been through what they're currently experiencing. I am humbled by this opportunity I've been given to help others.

My exact words in my January post were, "In a perfect world, I'd love to be able to travel as much as I wanted." Well, as we all know the world isn't perfect. I've gotten to do some traveling this year, but not as much as I'd have liked. On the other hand, the traveling I have done has been incredibly rewarding:

*In February I got to go to Nashville for our first Heroes in Recovery Lead Advocate Summit.

*In late February/early March, my wife and I drove to New Castle, Delaware, to attend the inaugural atTAcK addiction 5K race. (I was even chosen to be one of the two guest speakers at the pre-race dinner.)

*In June I got to go to New York City for parent coach training with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the Center for Motivation and Change.

*And just last weekend I went to Helen, Georgia, for our second Heroes in Recovery Lead Advocate Summit.

(One of these days I hope to take my amazing and beautiful wife on a trip that's nothing but pleasure, to a place we've both always wanted to go. Maybe even somewhere outside of the United States or Canada. But I don't think 2014 is going to be the year we do that.)

So that's my update on my six goals for 2014. Overall, I think I'm doing just fine. If I had to give myself a grade for the year so far, I think I'd go with a B+. But there are 147 days--exactly 21 weeks--left in 2014, which is plenty of time for me to bring that grade up.

"You must never doubt your ability to achieve anything, become anything, overcome anything, and inspire everything." --Tasha Hoggatt

Goal #4: Check!

1 comment:

  1. Dude! You've had a great year so far and its not even over yet!!! I was very inspired by what you wrote. What a proud moment to see your (very cute) son graduate plus all the rewarding work you have done to help others. Awesome.