Jun 132012

Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A while ago I wrote that I was not getting a job.

But then the question becomes, what am I going to do?

My mind started spinning with loads of ideas, possibilities, things to do, things to try. Lots of energy, lots of excitement. I love the phase where you are at the start of something new.

I started thinking about what I wanted to have achieved and in what time. Setting goals, deadlines, milestones, progress and yardsticks.

And the energy got a little bit less.

My very last few hours here in South America! In six hours I’ll be on a plane back home. A bit sad, looking forward to it a lot!

This trip has been absolutely great. But it’s not over. It gave me the space and time to think, reflect, wonder, dream, connect. Time for the next step. Reconnect with the people back home. Bask in the warmth of old friendships. Talk and laugh and cry. Sing, drink, dance, eat.

The end of this chapter in the book of life. I’m in perpetual wonder what the next one will bring…

Then I remembered that a bit longer ago I wrote about letting go, finding a bit more peace, being content. Which seems kind of opposed to setting goals, striving, “getting there”.

And then I read an extremely interesting article about the difference between goals and control. And taking responsibility for your own freedom.

Something clicked.


What I desire is quite clear to me: To be happy.

But that doesn’t translate into a goal very well. It’s not particularly measurable, even though I know when I am or not. It’s silly to put a deadline to it (what happens after the deadline? I can go back to being unhappy?). It’s highly unspecific.

Happiness is a state of being, not a goal.

Building on that thought, in general it’s not the reaching of a goal that makes me happy. Instead it’s the path, the working towards something itself. Reaching the end point can be satisfying, but if that’s the only thing you’re doing it for and you loath the “getting there”, you’re doing something wrong!

What is the goal to life? I know that the only true endpoint is death, but to set that as a goal would seem spectacularly wrong. Life itself is also a state of being. Ultimately there is no goal. There is no place to get to. No end-boss to defeat or princes to rescue. Life is what happens after that (and during. And before).

There might be no end point, but still we are traveling. Taking steps, making choices. Every moment.

If there is no final goal, then it’s the direction of the path that becomes important. To walk through beautiful scenery, to meet interesting people, instead of walking around in circles in your own living room. We may not know where we will ultimately end up (and it’s not important either), but it is good to give some thought to what the path is that we are walking upon.

So instead of working under the dictatorship of pre-set goals, I’m going to set a number of “vague goals” to help me choose which road to take. To help me, every moment, to decide whether to go left or right or straight. To have some consistency in what I work on.

No deadlines, not measurable, no accountability. Just my own inner compass to guide me.

Some vague goals for now:
-Find an apartment in Lima
-Make some money
-Work on my book
-Get more readers for this blog
-Work on staying healthy
-Learn to play the saxophone better

And I’m sure these will change. But I’ll navigate that twist in the road when I get to it.

For now: Happy travels!

  One Response to “Vague goals”

  1. Enjoy the journey of life with its ups and downs. Remember the good experiences and learn from the bad ones, if you want. Follow your heart.

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