The last time I mapped out my life, it was in pursuit of a pharmacology doctorate. I was going to take X amount of classes over the next 4 years, averaging a GPA of Y, and then academia would gracefully deposit me into the life I wanted – which was still undetermined at the time. In any case, none of this matters because I failed miserably.
So, I swore off making any long-term plans for my life and decided that I was more a sprinter than a marathoner, choosing to go where the wind takes me for 3-6 months at a time and then doing a complete 180 once I was done. I wasn’t the girl you bring home to your grandmother; I was the girl you did nothing with because I’m single and anti-social. That metaphor really fell apart.
This lifestyle led me to amazing experiences, like living in France and Austin, TX, working as a tour guide. And thus, time passed quickly the way time does when you break it into shorter intervals, like what you do when you’re dying on the treadmill and 5 minutes is way too long.
In some ways, I’m not quite ready for the end of this oscillatory era; but in other ways, I feel like I would maybe be a better human being if I committed to something for once in my life. Things like goals. Not quick, one-offs, but goals that take time and consistency. And if there are any words to describe the past four years, it would not be time nor consistency.
Some goals I have in mind:
- getting back into shape
- building up a rainy-day fund
- finally becoming a regular at somewhere other than Taco Bell
I did what I could in France and Austin. Every Tuesday in Austin, I was dragged all over a field by a dog in the name of volunteering at the animal shelter, I ran in the mornings as long as I got up early enough, and went out with 1.5 guys. Ok, I didn’t do anything in France because I was there for pure, finally-out-of-educational-institutions, unadulterated indulgence. A croissant and a whole baguette every single day! (Believe it or not, I still lost weight while in France.)
Time passes at different rates depending on my mindset. For example, whenever I was in a transient mindset (see above), I wouldn’t mark time at all! It wasn’t my responsibility to do something with the time; nah, I just had to do whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it. And I wonder why I have impulse control..
But let’s compare that transient mindset to the mindset of a permanent resident. In my planner, you’ll find the 10th of any months marked with “credit card payment due :)”. That’s right. In the midst of marking any and every eventful day, I put down the time of month where I deeply regret the actions of my trigger-happy finger of the past 30 days. Smiley face!
But Michelle, you say. You were in Austin for 8 months. Why wasn’t that enough time to plan some more long-term goals? Honestly, I have no idea. Why do I have a blog? Maybe to make sense of all of this. To have a running log of all the personalities I cycle through before coming right back to the one that I am stuck with.
Before you complain about this being anticlimactic and not at all post-worthy, I will say that I do have my suspicions.
But first, I’ll sidetrack into showing you how I usually attempt goals. Let’s take this week, for example. The week I decided to restart my paleo diet because last week I accidentally ate everything in sight from Friday to Sunday.
Monday started out well. I went to the gym at 7 in the morning and felt energized. This is great! This is what being healthy feels like! At lunch I ate what I packed on Sunday’s huge cookout (which happened while I scarfed down a whole pizza–last cheat ever, LOL!) from a cute little glass container. Being paleo is so in and cute right now. I barely resisted the urge to ‘gram it, #paleo.
As a snack, I drank a banana-strawberry cashew milk smoothie that I made.
Then I went home and there they were! A giant bag of thin pretzels that was padlocked in a box downstairs in the basement. So easy to find, it’s like they were begging to be eaten.
Ok, next week! I promised, scooping pretzels out of the Costco-sized bag with both hands like you do when you drink water from a creek. But instead of water, I had glorious carb-loaded pretzels. Next week I will officially start and stick with it!
Not as long a sidetrack as you were expecting, was it? That’s because I suck at goal-reaching. Goal-setting, I rock at. If you need any goals set, I’m your girl.
Back to my suspicions: I think that because I restart so often, I never really build up that consistency that is a goal’s lifeblood. Maybe it’s not that I adjust slower than most people into a routine or that I have so little time in each experience, but that I lacked focused routine. And focus in general. Sometimes I think I have ADD.
… what was I saying? Oh, right.
Anyways, I feel like focused routine is the one thing that stands between me and this goal-reaching unrealized monster that’s hibernating inside me. And that’s just another thing that takes time to work out.
And even though I understand that some of these things take time to develop–also what my mom told me about my boobs which never happened, mom!–I can’t help but become insanely jittery while waiting for all that to happen. While trying to unlock a new level of my life, I have absolutely no idea what to do with myself.
A part of me kind of just wants the time to escape me… like a montage. You get all the results and put in none of the hard work! I’ll just check out mentally while all of these processes are happening and when I check back in, I’ll be awesome and rule the world. Man, where did the days go?
But people tell me that’s not how things work.
I guess that’s another long-term goal to put on the list: learn to be more long term.