Sunday, August 12, 2018

Fixing my goal-oriented life

I've been in a weird funk this year. I think it's because of my own uncertainty. I'm happy in my daily life; but I've been wondering what the bigger point is. What am I doing? What should I be doing? Sure, I have a good job, but what about a career? A family? What goals am I currently knocking out of the park?

I've always been goal focused in my life. Graduate high school? Check. Go to college? Check. Get a job? Check. Get married? Check. Buy a house? Check. It goes on. But when I'm in-between accomplishments, I tend to feel unfulfilled and unimportant. And it seriously messes with my self esteem. I think that's where I'm at this year.

I've been reading a book called "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson. Yeah, it's a little crude, but its simplicity and ideas have me thinking more and more about what I can adjust in my life to make myself feel more fulfilled and happier. 

The author's tackle on goals has me thinking that I should make some changes in my own life.

From the book:

"If your metric for the value 'success by worldly standards' is 'buy a house and a nice car,' and you spend twenty years working your ass off to achieve it, once it's achieved the metric has nothing left to give you. ...There are no other opportunities to keep growing and improving, and yet it's growth that generates happiness, not a long list of arbitrary achievements."

If that ain't me. I've always felt a need to check off those boxes in my life. It just always felt like that was how life was supposed to work. But what am I supposed to do in the meantime?

"Better values, as we saw, are process-oriented," the author writes. "Something like express myself honestly to others,' a metric for the value honesty is never completely finished; it's a problem that must continuously be reengaged. ...The value is an ongoing, lifelong process that defies completion."

I've been chasing completion of goals for so long, and now that I'm "settled," I feel significantly unhappy. The author nails this one on the head, too.

"The pursuit of these goals causes great anxiety," he writes. "And even if we manage to achieve them, they leave us feeling empty and lifeless, because once they're achieved there are no more problems to solve."

To attempt to end my year on a good note, I'm going to stop looking for problems to solve. Instead, I'm going to look at my values. I value a good work ethic, healthy relationships, and my creative expression. So I'm going to keep working on these things and push myself to try to see where life will take me. Living life so goal-oriented has only made me this anxious, unhappy monster. Instead, I just want to live. Fingers crossed.