Tuesday, January 23, 2007

No more goals

I spent yesterday evening in bed, watching a bad movie, knitting, and having yet another existential crisis. Through this one, at least, I figured out a way to possible prevent another: NO MORE GOALS.

For whatever reason, I can't seem to balance the act of having a future goal with the act of enjoying the present moment. How can I enjoy the act of knitting when all I am focusing on is getting the shawl done, and therefore I stay up way too late working on it? And how can I enjoy writing and learning if all I'm focused on is getting to all the Writing Fantasies listed in an earlier post? And in that case, not only are the stakes much higher, but there is an endless amount of work I could be doing to get there. So when I don't do any one of those endless somethings, I feel bad.

So, here's what I'm going to do. My only goal for this month is to be in the moment. That will probably include lots of meditating. But that's the only goal I'm allowed. It doesn't matter how often I get to the gym. How much I knit. How messy my house is. Whether my bathroom gets painted. Even how much I write. Of course I'll make sure I get my MFA submissions done, but nothing else matters. I don't need to send out any queries or write any essays.

This idea seems a bit insurmountable. My heart is racing just thinking about it. What if I waste all my time? What if I get nothing done? I need to be OK with not getting anything done. Nothing. Nada. Scary! Best Blogger Tips


TI said...

That is the best decision you've made in a long time! Great idea. It can be done. But make sure that you don't pressure yourself to do it perfectly! The thing that I like to remindmyself is that everyone is okay RIGHT NOW.

I have a good recommendation for you -- I mean an absolute life-saver for a healthy attitude about work/life balance: The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. I give a copy to every PhD student I supervise, as soon as they get started on planning their dissertation. It's about learning to live in the moment and become more efficient at completing necessary projects (it is also about prioritizing) at the same time. I have employed its (easy) techniques since I was a graduate student. It's also a good, easy read and addresses perfectionism in a commonsense way (now why do I think that is worth mentioning to you?). I finished writing a book last year using it, and have just dusted the Now Habit off again this week because I felt myself going down. Hang in there, Bug! You're great and we're all totally inspired by you (I was so envious when you said you spent the evenign knitting in bed).

TI said...

i meant every thing is okay right now. But maybe everyone is too. ;)

FatCharlatan said...

Hmm. We may need to have a liquid lunch on Saturday. Does Panera's serve margaritas??? ;)

There MUST be something in the air because it seems like we're all experiencing some wacky stuff. I wonder if this is a second-semester trend? Hmm.

I agree with TI--I'm always inspired by you too. But I hear you about wanting to live in the moment...

Hang in there! :)


Repeater said...

Oh, bug, such a good idea for you. I think you put way too much pressure on yourself (even though you do come through on a lot of your goals). I, on the other hand, could use a couple of (writing)goals, so I'm attempting to ramp it up a bit on what I accomplish--but I won't be doing ANYTHING else. All writing, all the time. Maybe we'll balance each other out?
ti's right, we're all inspired by you. Sounds like a great book, too!

Bug said...

Wow. Thanks everyone for your support! It made me cry (seriously; maybe that is an indication of how very much I need some margaritas?) And I just ordered that Now book from the library. Thanks for the suggestion!

papyrus said...

I guess we're all different. I'm more of a now person but there are times when I deliberately need to set myself goals to make sure important things get done before the less important ones. I guess you could call it prioritising what I want to do more than goal setting and driving myself towards them.

Yesterday I finished a story I'm working on. If you're 'now' says you feel like looking at it, then you'll find it here:


I'd appreciate any comments

papyrus said...

Sorry that link got truncated. Here it is again. I've separated it into 2 lines so you'll have to restore it again. http://my-thoughts-for-a-penny.blogspot.com/