Thursday, April 19, 2012


Last year when I found myself unemployed on sabbatical I set some goals for myself. Goals are important to have, as are lists of tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the goals.  Even more important is remembering where you put the lists so you don't end up with 5 lists of different tasks, some of them the same as what is on the other lists, some different.

I just had a conversation about goals with my son.  He never took goal setting seriously when he was in school.  His uncle/godfather and my brother had a goal book that he referred to and updated every day so I would often point that out to my son as inspiration. He didn't buy it. NOW he has goals and was just explaining to me that I need to have them.

Last year my goals were very different from what I set for myself 20 years ago. 20 years ago my goals included moving to a small, friendly community that had good schools, finding a job that required no real skills and allowed me time to be a mom, losing 20 pounds, and saving money for my children's college education. We moved to a small farming town that we quickly learned was on the fast track to becoming a mega suburb but for a short time the schools were OK; I did find a job but it was not supportive of being a mom and while it paid well, I ended up leaving it to work for a very small hometown newspaper that didn't pay very much at all; I gained 15 pounds; and saving - well thank goodness my kids didn't want to attend college.

10 years ago my goals included graduating from college with a degree, traveling, losing 40 pounds, and paying off all my debt and starting a retirement fund.  In 2009 I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in Management; Over the past 10 years I found employment with non-profits that allowed me to travel all over the states; I gained 40 pounds; and until my sabbatical I had a good start on saving and paying down debt.

Last year I set seven short term goals and gave myself 1 -2 years to finish them, with the hope I would complete them all by fall of 2012.
  1. Simplify my life
  2. Get healthy (Lose 70 pounds)
  3. Create a secret garden in my back yard for Avery (and Gaga and Poppy)
  4. Write a book
  5. Finish Mom and Dad's 50th anniversary scrapbook (which was in 2005)
  6. Finish all the projects I have started over the years
  7. Read all the books sitting in boxes and on shelves and send them to other avid readers
I am very proud to say I have crossed numbers 6 and 7 off the list because they have been completed!!! I have read and given away more books than I can count at this point.  I have 4 bins of books in my garage sale pile and they will go this spring. And last year, with the exception of Mom and Dad's scrapbook, I either finished the projects or gave the supplies away because they were no longer relevant to my life. All part of the process of simplifying. My Mom and I will spend time together finishing her scrapbook (hopefully before their 60th anniversary) and the plan is to do it this summer.

Goals 1, 2, 3, and 4 are part of a larger process and so far I am on target. Getting rid of years of saved "treasures" and "important" papers, magazines, clothing, broken appliances, and other "stuff" has contributed to a more peaceful environment. It has also helped me feel like I have accomplished something important. I had my knee replaced and have lost 30 pounds; while the remaining 40 will take longer than a year, my new love of exercise and healthy eating is sure to keep me going in the right direction. We have outlined a design for a "secret" garden in our back yard and over the next year I can see it taking shape; and maybe it's not a book yet, but I am writing this blog.  Who knows what the future holds? Maybe once the house is all clean and painted I can sit in the secret garden and write.

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