We all know what “goals” are. In high school, they told us to make a list of goals. Where we wanted to be in ten years. I remember sitting in front of the high school counselor.I stared right into his bearded face:
“I don’t know…make music.”
He looked at my transcript.
“Well, hmm. Music, your choir teacher gave you an ‘A’ but left a note saying ‘will only participate if girls are participating.’ So, I am not sure music is your actual motivation. What do you like to do?”
“…play video games.” The tone of my voice was a large sign that I did not want to be here.
He looked at my transcript again. “You don’t like English? Literature? You have had straight A’s in these types of classes since you were a freshman. Want to be something that involves English?”
I was confused, “Something that involves English? Like speak English to other people who are learning English?”
The guidance counselor knew that this was going to be tough. But he helped me find a college. But, I didn’t stay at the college he picked for me. And that became a pattern. I start, I stop.
But it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to be….a teacher….a writer. A teacher who teaches writing! Which is ironic, because if you saw my handwriting and every single elementary report card I ever had:
“Daniel is a good student. He gets along with all his classmates, especially the girls. He is smart but his handwriting is terrible…it looks like chicken scratch.”
It is still terrible…in fact, when I am in class I take notes…only to find out that I cannot read my handwriting later when it’s time to study what I learned in class. But, technology has helped me…because more work is done on the computer now. So, handwriting is becoming obsolete…so take that elementary school teachers! What does “chicken scratch” even look like? Even a chicken makes “scratch” does that mean it can read my handwriting?
Now when one wants to become a teacher..he/she goes to college and gets a heavy dose of classes. But, when one wants to teach writing….those heavy doses become writing class after writing class. But, I love them. I go googoo and gaga for essays. I know, it’s weird. But, I ask for them. I love editing…and re-editing…and formulating paragraphs and arguments. But, as a side project I thought I should try to write a book. And that’s where the “I start, I stop” thing happened again. I have this story in my head….and the dialogue that belongs in the story….and then I sit down and write…and stop. I wait a day…and then a few days…and then weeks pass by. Then one day, I open up my masterpiece and totally forget where I was going with that particular chapter or scene. For example, imagine you are Netflix binge-watching…and you are totally into a show…and you watch it for hours and hours…and then one day you decide to watch something else. And weeks go by and you still haven’t continued watching that show you spent hours on. And one day you are in the mood to watch it, and you start the show and you have no clue what is going on anymore:
“Whoa wait…I thought that person died….and what? Isn’t he dating so and so…no…what? It was magic all along? And now their parents are getting divorced?” (This is not a real show…but doesn’t it sound good? Love…and magic…and divorce? Probably not.)
You see your own passions..and what drives you…and the steps it takes to get there…and you kinda stall. You stop and smell the roses. You take another slow sip of coffee…you order another plate of spaghetti…you ask for another helping of mashed potatoes(I’m hungry right now.)
But, something happens in your life where you realize there isn’t time to stall…and wait. “Life” happens…and what I mean by that is a life event…it can be a birth…it can be a death…but an impactful even happens where you realize that life is short and we only have one chance to do it right. When a death happens, it is normal to look at one’s life and see what you have accomplished. Would my bearded high school teacher be proud of what he saw from me at this point in my life. If I had a “life resume” what would it say?
-Works well with others
-Married a hottie
-Has an awesome kid
-Gets his money’s worth at a buffet
-Loses control of his emotions sometimes, and does it in public
-Still trying…to…reach his goals.
That’s when we realize what we need to do…that we need to refocus and look at the prize. You never know what will give you the drive to go and chase your goals. For some people it is a part of their DNA. They have that internal determination. For others, they need cheerleaders…someone that kicks them in the butt every now and then. And some of us are still trying to figure out what they need to find that drive.