Why Set 10 Year Goals?

It is a few months before my 30th birthday, and I still have 10 things left on my 30 By 30 list to cross off. A few of them will still probably change. Since it is January, and this is a pretty standard time to be thinking about goals for the coming year, I’m already starting to think about my goals beyond my 30 By 30 list. I attended a yoga + goal planning session yesterday. Before going, I kind of expected to only be going for the accountability of writing them out, especially since I’ve had so much training within the last two years on setting goals.

Instead, I gained the realization that of the 10 Year Goals I made for myself back in college, I had in some form or another achieved every single one of them. The main goals I remember making were along the lines of “Get Married”, “Have A Family”, and “Have A House”. I achieved all of these goals to some extent, which was really pretty awesome to realize.

But I’ve also recently lost every single one of these and more.

Laying in Savasana at the end of the yoga session, we were asked to imagine our life 10 years from that day. I was overwhelmed by the weight of the realization that, while I have the ability to do anything I set my mind to, there will always be external forces that will always be out of my control. I silently sobbed, laying there in the dark with 40+ coworkers around me that undoubtedly have it all figured out. They never choose the wrong people to have in their lives, they always achieve their goals in the exact way they intend to, and they never face the hopeless struggles I’m staring straight in the eyes right now in my own life.

Nobody fails as big as me, I thought during my weakest moment of deepest self-pity and delusion.

If there will always be circumstances outside of my control, if it is impossible to heartbreak-proof my life, then what is the point of making goals and attempting to envision where I’ll be in 10 years, much less tomorrow?

Recent events have left me saying “if my dreams don’t happen, I’ll just find new dreams”. And that is so true. And it seems like it is my personal best way to approach the things outside of my control. But, I’ve also started using this as a blanket-statement for even the things that I know will leave my life unfulfilled unless they happen.

I’ll never have all of the answers. I tried, I failed. I will try again, because that’s just who I am. I will fail again, though I really hope I don’t fail quite so badly next time around. But the only guarantee is that I will fail, and that I will pick myself back up and keep on trying. Success will never be guaranteed.

Losing everything that ever meant anything to me could be the end of me. Or, it could be the foundation that will give me new life. I have the chance to redesign my life according to what is actually most important to me, instead of all of the “should”s supplied to me from society. Why should I want a nice house? Why should I want a fancy car? What do I (me and ONLY me) actually want from the little time I have on this beautiful, magnificent rock called Earth?

This is Part 1 of a two-part series. This is where I ask all the questions. This is where I acknowledge my constraints and breakdowns and failures and write out all the fears that I’ve been thinking. Part 2 will be me facing those fears and actually making my 10 Year Goals, writing them out for all to see, and getting back in the arena. Stay tuned for Part 2

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Ann Edwards