I chose "goals" over "resolutions" because a goal is not an absolute. Instead, it's something you strive for. As I wrote last year, "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."
Last year I set six goals for myself:
1. Keep living in the moment
2. Start working for "Heroes in Recovery" and make a difference
3. Find a job I'm passionate about
4. See my son graduate from high school in June
5. Continue to help others as much as I can
6. Travel more
I was conscious of those goals all year long. I even posted an update on my progress in early August, just to make sure I was staying on track. So, now that 2014 is in the books, how did I end up doing? Here's my self-appraisal:
I nailed goals 1, 2, 4, and 5, and couldn't be happier with the results. Goals number 3 and 6? Maybe not so much.
I did travel some in 2014--Delaware, New York City, Nashville, Georgia, Stittsville (Ontario), Akron. Some of it was work-related. Some of it was for fun. But I didn't travel as much as I wanted to, or, more importantly, go anywhere I "dream" about visiting. I'd really like to take a nice vacation with my wife (we never went on a honeymoon!). I'd love to escape to someplace warm in the winter--Hawaii, Puerto Rico, maybe the Bahamas. Any of those places would be awesome. I'd also like to go to Europe at some point. Unfortunately, the money to take a trip like I want to take just isn't there right now.
And speaking of money...
Goal number 3 was key to keeping my family's cash flow flowing. Unfortunately, I did not manage to land a job I'm passionate about--or any job--in 2014. A severance package got me through most of the year, so income and benefits weren't an issue. But all good things come to an end, and severance is no exception. So now I'm kind of under the gun.
I did apply for three jobs that would've satisfied my passion, so it's not like I wasn't trying. I actually thought one of the jobs was going to happen, too. But at the last minute it fell through. I also applied for a couple of jobs I thought would've been fun--at Costco and Trader Joe's--but neither one of those materialized.
Sometimes I think I should bite the bullet and take a job just for the sake of taking a job. Something that would provide a steady income and health benefits. But the more I think about doing that, the more I feel like I'd be selling out.
Earlier this week I came across this amazing quote from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the late Swiss-American psychiatrist who wrote the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying:
"It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live. And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do. Otherwise, you will live your life as a prostitute, you will do things only for a reason, to please other people, and you will never have lived. And you will not have a pleasant death."
Amen to that. And then some.
I posted that quote on Facebook and commented, "I don't want to be a prostitute!" While that remark may have been funny, I can't stress enough that it's exactly how I feel. At this point in my life, I'm not at all enamored with taking some corporate gig and sitting in a cube all day. I've said it before and I'll say it again:
It's not all about money. It's about enjoying what I do and feeling fulfilled. I want a job that allows me to help others and make a difference in the world.
Selfish? Maybe. But I'm not giving up on the dream. Not yet. In the meantime, I'll keep doing the freelance work I've been doing, and maybe try to pick up some more. And I will shop around for health insurance.
So as I sit here typing on New Year's Day, I've decided to shorten my list of goals for 2015. Last year I had six goals. This year I have one:
1. FIND A JOB I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT
That's it. I have 364 days to nail this one. And I plan on doing it.
While I search for the perfect job, I will continue living my life like I have over the past year. I'll live in the moment (it's the only way to live, people); keep working for Heroes in Recovery as a lead advocate (I'm grateful they asked me to return in that role for 2015); continue to volunteer as a parent coach for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (giving other parents hope is so important); and try to be the best human being I can be.
Happy new year, kids. May your 2015 be totally badass.
"I'm here to be me, which is taking a great deal longer than I had hoped." --Anne Lamott