I have some time this evening to consider my goals. In fact, the topics of this week’s Korean lessons are related. For part A of these lessons, our target questions are, “What is on your dream list of things you wish to do (bucket list) before you die?” and “What would it be like doing them?”. Regarding part B, our target questions are, “What would you do if you were diagnosed with an incurable deadly disease?” and, “What would you do if you inherited a very large sum of money unexpectedly?” While studying, I had to prepare answers to these questions, so I had a chance to think about what I really would do in those situations. That work triggered some thoughts as to my present short term, long term and life goals.
In coming up with answers to those questions, I gave thought to my writing. If either of those situations arose, I would quit my job and, among other things, I would devote myself to writing some more worthwhile projects. Because I watched documentary films last night and over dinnertime today, I was also thinking that it might be fun if I had lots of time to investigate some important issue and help solve a problem by writing on it. After all, I have some training in social science. Well, whatever the project, I should spend more time writing if I get the chance.
It occurred to me today that my list of short term goals and the list of goals for 2014 omitted the effort I made to apply for a Canada Council grant to support my creative and non-fiction writing projects. Indeed, I should put the following two points on that list of current short term goals. I am reminded that I should call the Canada Council to get some feedback regarding my rejected application that I submitted last April. Then I should re-apply next year. The memories of applying earlier this year have come back to mind; I remember realizing that it was very possible for me to make a living as a full-time writer this way. I should try again.
When I reflected on my review of my goals yesterday, I found that I have been accomplishing some of them. The road to achievements is much shorter when you know where you are headed. I should plan more places to reach in my life time, and I should dream bigger. I could arrive there. You never know! I will not if I don’t put my mind to it. That is for sure!
I have enough curiosity and wonder about life, and I am industrious enough, that I do not sit around thinking of a lot of things that I want. I do not have many burning desires or competitive feelings, unlike many people, I suppose. Rather, I tend to feel joy in the present, joy in action and simple things can make me content. I get excited about prospects in the near future, like work, travel, social events, exercise, good food and new purchases. That is good, but I could get more out of life. This process of reflection has given me more drive to accomplish more before I die. What is more, it has given me confidence that I can do it, and it helps steer me in the right direction.
I know that I should not drop the goal-setting process after going through it once. I need to make it a habit. I should adopt it as part of my way of life because it can really serve me and help me to reap more joys and meritorious and meaningful benefits and experiences out of life. In short, I should review and reset my goals every few months.
Let me begin rewriting my goals. I’ll draft the 10-year goals first. (Somehow, it seems to work in reverse chronology.) I had the following items on my original list: long term housing, love, an expanded financial base, more challenging and suitable but flexible work, and a firmer and stronger body. I think I’ll change the “more challenging and suitable but flexible work” to being a full-time writer. For one thing, I’ll be of retirement age, whether I will be able to afford to retire or not, and I will definitely have some retirement income, though not much, by then. I will also have some savings and probably own a home in Canada. I may not be qualified for some employment by then, but I would be qualified to apply for writers’ grants. I could supplement my retirement income that way. One project that comes to mind is to fulfill a long held dream to do a survey of Canadian English language literature and research the elusive Canadian identity in that body of selected works.
What was I thinking when I wrote these goals earlier this year? I want “a firmer and stronger body”?—not really possible, so I ought to say a well maintained fit and healthy body.
As to how I will accomplish these goals,I should rephrase my original words. I ought to say that I will continue to try to increase my income and develop alternate or sideline work right away, and add that I will re-apply for writers’ grants next season (spring 2015). Of course, I should include, “keep writing and publishing.” The word, “hobbies” should be deleted, for I should stop thinking of my writing as a mere hobby. I need to think of myself as a writer and visualize a future with me as a full-time writer. I need to work on good topics and projects. The rest of the plan can remain the same.
Now, let’s reconsider the five-year goals. I should just come out and say it: I want to get a writer’s grant and become a full-time writer. I therefore need to keep writing, publishing and applying for grants. Also, I wonder why I have not said where I want to live. I want to live in Canada within five years; I want to at least keep it as my base and thus be a resident again. For that reason, I should plan to save enough money to purchase a home within five years. You know what? I should refrain from traveling except on “business” until I retire. I have seen enough places in the world in recent years to keep me satisfied for a while. Some horrible accident or diagnosis notwithstanding, I should be in shape to resume some travelling after five years’ time. Yeah, it is hard to live the expat life and not get away on some adventure periodically. I could still make two or three visits to Canada within the five-year period. If I stuck it out in this country longer, I would have to bite the bullet and find a better housing arrangement, though, which would add to my expenses, regardless, thereby rendering the savings from not traveling somewhat inconsequential. I therefore should concentrate on increasing and supplementing my income as well as saving. With these goals, then, I should state that I want to give up full-time English teaching within five years. Yes, of course.
Naturally, I should also have stated that I wish to find and share the fruits of this blogging project in 2015. That should lead to another book, or at least an essay to be published in 2015. Further to that, I want to finish my fourth novel, if I can sort it out. If not, I should give it up and start a different one.
What was I thinking? I was not thinking of these practical issues enough, apparently, when I first wrote these lists. I guess I kept the goals as abstractions rather than concrete actions.
With respect to this year’s goals, I can make adjustments even though there are only three months left of it. Obviously, I should have stated that I want to complete this blog project. In completing the project, I want to come up with a strategy for living, growing, and making a difference in important ways by the end of the calendar year.
Hm. Maybe I’ll have more to say on this plan in a day or two.