Monday, May 14, 2007

on goals and changing direction

I've been thinking alot about goals: What mine are, and how I can achieve them.

The first question has been causing me a bit of trouble. You see, I realized that I never had any real, concrete goals as a child. I was the kind of child who grew glassy eyed at the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" (The kind of child that mumbled the answer, and switched the subject!) 'When I grew up'??? No, I needed to be successful "now", not later...That was the point, right? To succeed? Well, I was so focused on surviving, on getting to the next year, and the year after, that I forgot to plan my life. I forgot to find out what I wanted to do, and not only that, but what steps I would need to take to get to my destination. It seems I made alot of stops along the way, some less necessary than others, and then eventually I just got off the bus altogether.

One of those unneccessary stops was: Focusing on Others' Strengths and My Weaknesses.

This has been a destination in my life that has stunted me from when I was very young. Feeling that I was weak or defective somehow caused me to always see myself as "second best", or worse yet, not in the running at all. It didn't matter if praise was heaped upon me, I always saw someone with something-some talent, quality, physical characteristic, lifestyle-that I wanted..That I felt was better than what I had. I was a bright and talented child, and it should have been enough for me; I wish it was. Instead of being humble, asking for help and being happy for others successes, I became proud, and refused to engage. I just checked out, first mentally, then emotionally, then physically.

That leads me to my next stop: Quitting Myself and Depending on Others.

By refusing to play the game I cheated myself out of life. I also became so unsure of my footing, and so unaware of the consequences of my own choices that I started leaning upon others almost exclusively to make the major decisions in my life. When I was younger, I thought this was freeing. I thought, "Who knew you could just refuse to do certain things?. I can just stop going to school, stop speaking to other people."..And eventually stop going outside of my home altogether. It's with a rueful smile that I think about myself at that point, and what a coward I was and still am in many ways. It takes more strength of will and character to choose to live than it does to-choose to-merely exist. Yes, either way you are making a choice, either way you will reap what you sow. I didn't know this back then, though. I actually thought I could get out of all of it without having to take any responsiblity for it or for myself. How I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that facing the consequences is part of life. Taking chances is part of life-a good part, that should not be missed...So many things..This all seems so simple to me now.

It seems I could go on forever, talking about where I allowed that bus to take me..But the fact is that I can't go back. I can't change what's already happened, and that dreaded question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" just grows more large and looming now that I have, in fact, grown up. There is no more time for excuses, no more handing over control of my life to other people. I realize that I will always struggle with issues of power, control, and feelings of worthlessness. I will fear failure for a long time...And I will continue to "fail" all my life, meaning I will continue to make bad decisions, to dissapoint myself-that's normal. I need to be okay with that, and not hate myself for that.

I've started to make some goals, the first one being to reach out to those who have reached out to me in the past. I'm going to try to not get my hopes up (A foul habit I have of getting discouraged the moment things don't work out the way I want them to is yet another unneccessary stop that I won't go into at the moment.), and realize that those who've I've turned away from in the past don't owe me anything now. I'm am going to have to work, to fight in some instances, for their friendships..Mostly I'll be fighting myself, and my "will to fail".

This is the first step: [Re]Opening the floodgates of Communication

Wish me luck, I'm going to need a heck of alot of it!

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