Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Setting a goal

I've come to the conclusion that looking inward may be the best way to prepare a person to look forward. As a child, I developed into a loner. Whether it was caused by being a service brat who was in a new school every one of my first 7 years or because my parents were of different religious origins, she was Catholic, he Baptist; different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, she was a city bred Italian, he was farm bred Southerner; or because I discovered the world inside books when I started reading at the age of six, doesn't really matter. Whatever the cause, the effect has been to leave me very short sighted when it comes to goal setting. Ask me my goal at any time in my life and the answer would have been the same. To be alone with a good book.

The result is that I've always sought jobs, entertainments, and yes, even friends, that would leave me alone to organize my activities so I could hurry back to my reading. Hurry being the operative word here. I didn't so much plan the future as I did try to control it so I could go back to my books. The odd thing is that this shaped my eventually becoming a teacher of English and it foreshadowed my decision to retire early and go off on my own. The thing is that teaching was never my goal. An occupation that gave me a license to read was. Later, when I discovered how much I really liked teaching, I had already retired so that I could get back to my privacy and my reading.

The point here is that I never really set my goal. It set me. When I look back at the jobs I've had, truck driver, coach, teacher, concession manager, dance teacher, and now computerist, I see how they all were choices that fit my personality and that I gravitated to naturally. But I remember distinctly in every case I pursued or took the job because I wanted to be in control of my time so, you guessed it, I could have more time to read.

So I have this to say to those of you who are about to sit down and list your short term and long term goals, goal setting is a forward looking activity. But a look inside at who you are and what you do with your own time now may serve you very well as you plan for the future.

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