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!”)