Goals and dreams.
“Begin with the end in mind.”
I read an article the other day about the importance of setting goals in recovering from mental illness. Goals provide a sense of progress or forward direction. In recovery, goal-setting enables you to see a place beyond your current situation that you can get to, with work and patience. However, hope is required in order to have the ability to envision goals in the first place.
What the article said was pertinent to what I’m currently doing – recovering from depression. Now that I’m more or less well again, and approaching my “Saturn Return” (under pressure), and keeping in mind that unforseen circumstances and opportunities do come up from time to time, I’ve refined my career, education and fitness/health goals to focus on with stable vigour for the two years (with a 12-month point review, according to the plan). I’ve finally found a local sports team/group (the organisers of which I actually met back in ’09, strangely), I have another freelance writing gig starting in the next few months, and, apart from completing my studies and writing the screenplay, I’m going to be expanding my folio (through paid and voluntary work), and looking for media/communications placements, with the intention of gaining entry into the degree program I wish to get into and, more to the point, more paid writing work. Which is, essentially, the dream:
“I want to write for and about ideas, causes, issues, organisations and groups I believe in, and to write for screen and stage creatively. I want to continually learn, experience, travel, and share for a living.”
Nice, simple and airy (there were a few other dreams too, of course). That’s what I wrote down back at the beginning of ’09, when after yet another spell of ill-health and years of young life, relationships, and education damaged by bouts of serious depression (and related self-destructive decisions) I decided that I might as well – given I am fortunate to live in the lucky country and my arty home Melbourne – pursue a day job in arts, media and writing I actually love. Admittedly it was a really risky decision made in a batshit way (pfft, typical), but I had no doubt then and am still thankful I made it: sick one night, the light of inspiration overcame my mind and body, and I just decided to stop ignoring what my “heart” was telling me to do (I believe it was my heart. It may have been heartburn).
By some miracle my sympathetic family still pledged their cautious support – even after I told them what I just told you. Perhaps them seeing how enthused I was at the prospect of “choosing my own adventure” after months of being down had something to do with that support. My mother said she just wanted me to be happy, and to take care of myself. As for that “adventure” – no adventure is without trials and tribulation. I’m at the “overcome obstacles and work hard to get home” part now, after successfully completing the “confront the monsters” part of the story (a part that reminded me, once again, that I am merely the co-author of this particular tale. And that monsters in stories are usually representative of your own inner demons).
Exactly what am I trying to say here?
… I don’t know. I guess I’m just appreciating right now the importance of doing what you love – or, rather, loving what you do. And I don’t think it’s crazy at all, really, to want to pursue your dreams. The way your dreams are formulated might not be “rational” (goddess knows mine never are) – but that’s why we set goals. Goals, if chosen and pursued correctly, are the practical roads that will lead us to our dreams.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to even have dreams and goals. It means I have hope in my life. No small thing, when you consider all the people on the planet right now living without it. Me? Despite whatever pain I feel, I have inspiration in my life, and wake up everyday knowing deep down that everything’s going to be okay.
Holy Jeebus, I am LUCKY.