The Goal

I’m not a person who typically sets goals. I wish I were, as I think setting goals is an important part of reaching goals. But, it’s not my nature. Me, I’m a take it as it comes kind of person, one more inclined to take in the landscape before me than try to alter it.

At least that’s how I spent the first 4/5th’s of my life. Having kids and watching them grow older (while I also grow older) has made the future more tangible to me than it ever was previously. And so, I think ahead more than I used to, about the things that I want our family to experience in the years to come.

I’ve found that five years in the future is about as far away as I can imagine now. Anything more than that and you’re imagining what your kids will be like, what activities they’ll be involved in, how your family deals with high school age kids…it’s too much to envision right now. I can and do prepare for it financially and all of that, to the extent possible now, but as far as what life itself will be like, say, 10 years from now? No clue. As long as we’re happy and healthy, that’s the main thing I suppose. Those would be goals 1 and 1A.

I have two goals that fit in that five year horizon. Only two, along with a slew of major and minor anticipations, wishes and sentiments. The first goal is to move in the next year or two, to a house with more space for the kids, who now share a room. Sharing a room obviously isn’t the end of the world, but we’ve outgrown this house. I know it’s going to be very difficult for me to leave this house, something I’ll write about more when the time comes. It will always be the place we raised our kids, the yard they grew up in.

I’d like to move into a house I could envision living in the rest of my life, if necessary. The goal is to get something built in that 1910 to 1930 era, and add our touches and improvements to it over the course of our lifetimes. We might do that in our current house if it was more connected to a neighborhood, but instead we’ll look for a new place, which is exciting.

The other goal is to travel with my family. I’d like to experience some of the special places I’ve seen in my life, but this time with my family. But more important, I want us to see new places together, so we can all experience the joy of seeing a new part of the world.

When I think back on my life, most of the strong friendships I have today have a common bond. Most the time that statement is a reference to years involved with college debate, but that’s not the only variable at play. Maybe debate friendships are so strong because they so often involve travel, and seeing parts of the world for the first time, where everybody in the group is seeing it for the first time as well. If you have enough of those experiences with those people over time, I think that must forge a very strong bond. Experiencing newness together as social glue? Or maybe the key is new parts of Earth, and new people?

Whatever it is, that’s the life experience I most want to have, to see more of the world with my family. It doesn’t have to be anywhere fancy or exotic; in fact, there are plenty of places right here in Minnesota that are amazing, if you don’t mind mosquitoes. But I’d be lying if I said that was the goal.

I grew up in Kansas. Maybe it’s because I didn’t see mountains until I was 18, or the ocean till I was 20, but in both cases I was just blown away by their magnificence, and still am. I want to see the excitement in my kids’ eyes when they see mountains for the first time. I want to watch them splash in the tide while Jane and I stroll behind, our bare feet leaving faint prints in the wet sand while we look for sand dollars.

That’s the goal.

(“Bored! What do you mean, you’re bored? You’re going to walk along this beach until we get to that pier, and then we’re going to ride the ferris wheel. What? That pier over there with those lights on it. Yes, it’s a ferris wheel, trust me. What? Well I don’t care if you don’t want to ride it. I’m going to make you ride it because you’ll never get another chance to ride a ferris wheel on a pier on the ocean. It’ll be awesome. What? I don’t know, probably a mile, but you’re on the beach because we flew all this way so the least you can do is open your eyes and walk a mile on the beach until you get to the pier. And do not wear your iPod on the beach! You have to listen to the waves!”)

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10 Responses to The Goal

  1. Nathan D says:

    Staying in the same general neighborhood?

    (and that last parenthetical really captures the Truth of child-rearing in that phase, I suspect)

  2. pipelineblog says:

    Travel, like most activities kids do with their parents, I think takes on greater significance when kids become parents. Is that why they are called life lessons, because you have to live a whole bunch of your life before you learn them?

  3. pipelineblog says:

    Also, yes, staying in this general part of St. Paul unless something bizarre happens.

  4. Katy says:

    Yes, definitely staying in the same neighborhood! After all, we just got there.

  5. Paul says:

    I 100% agree with the notion of a 3-4 year horizon. I plan and live my life in 3-4 years chunks. Anything beyond that is science fiction.

    We just moved into a house like the house you’re describing btw. It’s large, but a major fixer upper. A place we could easily live the rest of our lives and never outgrow. It also used to be occupied by a flock of sorority girls and the walls are all painted pink and green.

    Good luck on your house hunt. I think it’s a good time to be on the buy side.

  6. Kudos on using the correct term to describe a collection of sorority girls. If those pink and green walls could talk, they would probably have vapid, eyeroll-inducing conversations.

    I suppose I shouldn’t stereotype sorority girls so readily. But who’s going to stop me?

  7. Jim says:

    Well, hell. If your goal is to see new parts of the world, it’s a damned good thing you’re my man. So to speak.

  8. Steve C says:

    Have you seen the new Batman movie? I haven’t, but word on the street is that it rocks. Totally. Talk about Ledger getting the first posthumous Oscar since Peter Finch in Network. I did see the new X-Files movie today and it is SOOOOO much better than the first movie. It’s great. I only have one problem with it, which I’ll tell you later. Anyways, hope you are well.

  9. kelly says:

    Have you considered converting the garage into Linus’s personal palace? Probably need a toilet to work, but getting to the age his own space might be kind of cool….. your postscript cracked me up….. I’m guessing they’ll be into travel, just won’t admit it to Dad.

  10. Elaine M says:

    We were planning on moving for the same reason, but then decided to just make the house bigger (construction should start in a few months). My kids were both born at home and I’m not quite ready to leave their birthplace. I NEVER thought I would get attached to a house. geez!

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