I think a lot of people, especially as we age, like the idea of goal setting. When you were younger your goals typically focused on getting good grades, and getting some guy or girl to like you. Maybe those are still your goals, but most likely upon getting to college and further, your goals have taken a more meaningful and mature turn.
I'm turning 21 this year, and I'm trying to really get my life in order. I decided that I wanted to create a 30 by 30 or 30 before 30 list. I've seen tons of them around the blogosphere, like this one on Endless Bliss, and I decided 9 years was good enough lead time. I came up with around 14 things, and then began to really struggle. What do I want to accomplish in 9 years? What do I care about enough to take to the next level? What can I reasonably accomplish without putting real life aside for a silly list I wrote at 20? Where do I want to be? What can I put on here that won't feel like wasted space, but a real accomplishment?
There are a few things that seem obvious:
- Learn Spanish again, this time, to the point of fluency
- Finish writing a book
- Get a book published (or have a deal in the works)
There are a few that are maybe a little out there:
- Begin beekeeping
- Go to the D23 Expo
But after a while, I started to really struggle to think of things worthy of becoming part of this list. Part of it is due to having had a lot of cool experiences-- holding a human brain, going backstage at two Broadway shows, winning a playwriting competition-- these are all things I've already done, and feel really good about. Not that I'm complaining, but it makes it harder though to think of stuff I'd like to do, maybe because the memories of some high points in my life are blocking new ideas from seeping into my brain.
So I started looking around, cruising for ideas. I hit up bucketlist.net to try to get some inspiration. After all, a 30 by 30 list is basically a mini bucket list with a time limit you actually know about-- which is good for goal setting. It helped a little, but most of the ideas were in several categories of no use for my goal-setting.
- Something I could literally accomplish tomorrow, without any real effort, and therefore deserves to be on tomorrow's to do list, not a 9 year goals list. "Sing a song for a friend" is not bucket-list worthy in most cases. Unless you have a medical condition or a psychological condition that currently makes this really difficult or impossible, this is a pretty boring thing for a long term goal list.
- Something very, very strange that I have no desire to do. "Make a blood oath" and "Give a friend a racist gift basket" were ideas posted on the site. I don't even know what a racist gift basket is and I hope I never encounter one.
- Ridiculous, borderline idiotic things. Apparently "throw a dart at a map of the world and go where it lands" is a pretty common one, but why would you want to do that? What if it lands in the ocean? What if it lands on a war zone? How much is this going to cost you? Should you really take two months to travel to India just to prove a point to yourself, when maybe a better goal might be, "buy my own house" or "put away $10k for retirement"? Other things included "try crack cocaine" (WHY?)
- Things I just don't think I'll follow through on. Learning to play another instrument, for example, is not something I'm sure I want to commit myself to doing in the next 9 years. A Bucket Lister, maybe, but not an item for my 30 by 30 list.
- Things I literally don't care about. "Go to a music festival" is a really popular one, but I am totally and completely not interested in this. I like music, but I don't think it's my scene at all. In terms of interest, this is akin to "climb a mountain" where if you want to do it, I see the appeal, but I'm not down at all.
- Things I think I'll regret later. I guess this kind of goes along with the ridiculous one, but it's a little different, because I can definitely regret something that doesn't sound all that ridiculous. For example "watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's." It sounds and looks so romantic, but I've lived in New York and asked people about it and it's awful. You can't leave. You can't move. You stand literally all day for like 20 hours. You don't really get to eat. People wear diapers because you can't just leave to pee. WHY WOULD YOU WANT THAT?
- Things I don't have enough control over to make happen. There are things you have a hand in, and there are things you don't. I think the things you can't reasonably do just by going after it, shouldn't go on your list-- for example, meeting a celebrity. Why waste an item on your 30 by 30 list on something you can't go after?
What are you putting on your 30 before 30 list? Where did you get your ideas?
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