Goal!

08Oct14

Coming to realize that you are your parents’ child shouldn’t be so significant.  It’s so obvious, and not even worth contemplating… until its realization amounts to an understanding of yourself that could not have come from anywhere but understanding them first.

There were times where I thought,  “I really am my father’s daughter,” or “I’m going to become my mother some day.”  I can’t remember what spurred me to believe those things, or what justified those conclusions.  I want to remember this time though, and I want to share it somewhere, record it, look back on it, remember it, see if my conclusion becomes a true prediction of who I’ll become.  I’ve found a fact of who I am today.  Will it be me tomorrow?

My new gig is goal-oriented.  There is to be a goal of the day.  There are to be three main goals of the season.  There is a main goal of the entire goal system.  Nearly ten years of scoring lacrosse goals are under my belt, and yet I can’t outline goals for my job.  I tried!  I spent two whole cross-county commutes exhausting my mental arsenal to figure out a goal-by-goal, goal-for-goal plan… and failed.  Sure, if I wrote those thoughts down they’d probably resemble a sort of plan I can piece out, but the goal-oriented core of it would be missing.  Michelle had plans to make a plan, and yeah… that went nowhere.

It’s because I am not a goal-oriented person.  Instead, I am my parents’ child.  Our culture values ambition and drive, but is often vague as to which direction those forces should go.  “Success,” they say.  “Happiness,” they say.  I can guess that those are two goals your mother has told you to strive for.  But I can verify that they are two abstract dreams my mother has told me to chase.

I’ve seen dreams become the demons of several people. They don’t reach them and they never will.  I don’t say that as a slap in the face of your false illusion of whatever American Dream you fantasize.  I say that as an honest, debatable opinion that you too might hold true, deep down inside.  Dreams become demons when they’re too far off and unattainable, yet torment your consciousness as if they’re within a claw and talon’s- length reach.  They’re there at the front of your mind.  Maybe they drive you forward, and keep you looking up.  But they’re not within who and what you actually are at the moment, in your present state.

The problem I have with having future-based dreams, or goals, is that I have no handle of them.  And the bigger they are– like my mom’s– the more daunting they are, and the more disappointed you become when you start to realize they’re too big.  So why is it hard for me to come up with small goals for my job?  I’m not making goals to save the world; I’m making goals to train athletes.  It’s because I am not a goal-oriented person.  Instead, I am my parents’ child.

While my mind and skills are more like my mom’s tenacious brilliance, my work ethic is a mirror image of my dad’s.  He works hard, with his hands mostly.  He works on cars, the yard, the plumbing, and other people’s cars, yards, and plumbing– all on the side of his main job.  He makes cool things out of wood, and builds houses in the desert.  I don’t believe he ever daydreams about future goals and dreams while doing these things.  I wouldn’t know for sure, though.  My dad and I don’t talk about dreams like my mom and I do.

I’m like my dad because I will bow my head to do work blindly, paying little attention to future outcomes, but with intense, present focus.  I trudge on through jobs and tasks like an ox, motivated by responsibility and necessity.  Sometimes I feel very burdened and wonder what goals I’m actually working for, but I am never satisfied to submit my work to the clichéd “Success,” or “Happiness” end.  I don’t believe those are worthy ends at all, because their complete states don’t exist and can’t be quantified.

I qualify “Success” and “Happiness” in the joy of the process itself, and the people I impact on the way.  It’s a healthy midway balance between my two parents’ extremes.  I’m not quite the hopeful, big dreamer my mom is.  I work hard, but rest in appreciating things my dad usually misses. Though I believe this is healthy,  it’s inhibitted me too… from meeting intimidating deadlines, from applying energy efficiently, and from avoiding responsibilities that don’t seem to fit in my future.  I’ve acknowledged this, at least.  And now I’ll remember it.  Starting with the first goal I’m now going to try to pull out of my ass for practice tomorrow, we’ll see if changing it up works for me later.

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