Usually I would be posting about my weekend – all the adventures I have, from the mundane making granola to the fun like visiting a citrus place in Ojai. Today, however, I can’t … because I spent most of the weekend using up all the kleenex in the house and regretting that I couldn’t taste the yummy food that was brought to me. It was very sad.
I did manage to rally enough to take Smithy out to the Beach before her plane left on Sunday.
Beach was nice, warm.
There were so little people on the beach, and the water was just rolling in on the sand, it was beautiful.
I do love this part of being here.
The slow Sundays that I can walk to the market or the beach and just enjoy the solitude and quiet.
And the weather. Love the weather.
But alas – even in paradise, the occasional sniffling nose is not unheard of.
So while I spent my weekend angling my head to figure out the best position to breathe in, I was also thinking about things.
Granted, when I am sick, my thinking is generally skewed. I believe I spent a good ten minutes musing out loud to the Boy about the merits of lucid dreaming versus the problem of dying in a dream and whether or not the fact that you were lucid dreaming has any negative impact on the latter. Or something. But, take it for what it is – I started to muse over the value of having goals.
You see, before I caught whatever bug I caught last week, I had an interview, with the Boy, at the USCIS and I was approved for that green card thing I had applied for. And so we were happy, and we celebrated with Sprinkles Cupcakes (because duh, we’re in LA) and some bubbly and then watched The Hunger Games with friends. That’s how we roll.
The point is this: I set out to get a green card, and I did. And so there we go – goal complete.
Then, as I lay in bed thinking (the virus I caught probably already working its way into my system) I realized that, instead of the huge “end” goal that I thought it was, the green card thing was a smaller, first-step type of goal – the stepping stone kind of goal that is supposed to lead to bigger, better more fulfilling things.
I know, I know – it’s still a goal, why with the whole segregation of goals now?
Well, for me it makes a difference.
Goals have always been something of a goal themselves for me. My father and mother were – and still are – very goal-oriented people. My father would set goals for us in a lot of cases – things like, “You will get an A+ in school this semester” or “You will learn how to ride your bike by the end of the week” or his most undying one “You will go to the University of Toronto as a student, graduate and then go to a professional school”. My Mom generally agreed with his goals, though she added things like “You will clean your room every Saturday morning while other children are watching cartoons and you will pass my inspection of your room before you are also allowed to have Saturday cartoons – after you help clean the rest of the house” and “You will sit there and stir the chocolate in an ‘8’ pattern so it doesn’t burn so you can learn how to cook and take care of yourself and my future grandbabies”, and such. The point is: they had a habit of setting goals for their daughters – well, expectations on their end, that turned into goals for us, as we didn’t want to disappoint them.
So goal-setting, and in equal parts goal-achieving, has been with me since I was a very young child. I have been somewhat of an over-achiever where certain things are concerned, to be honest. And I usually take any hint of doubt on anyone’s part to be a challenge – “Oh you don’t think I can run a mile? I have just decided I will run 2!” kind of thing. Also, I can’t run a mile anymore, my knee starts shooting pain down my shin within about half a mile and I need to settle into a fast walk, but I can fast walk 2 miles, dammit!
Of course, there are times when I have doubts myself, and of course those are harder to see as challenges at all. Like this whole green card process – we sent in our paperwork just before Christmas in 2013, and I realized, suddenly, that it meant I would be in Los Angeles, without work and unable to go home to see my family, until it was over. From what I heard other people say – the whole process could take a year, and suddenly I was paralyzed with the idea that I would be jobless for a year, with no way of seeing those I loved (unless they visited me) and heaven forbid if one of them were in trouble – I wouldn’t see them. It was terrifying. If you’ve ever read my blog when I speak of my family, you would realize that I am a very family-oriented person. I always try and call my grandparents, make sure they’re alright, talk to my sisters and my parents, build relationships with my many may cousins, etc. If something were to happen to them, and I was stuck here … It might have destroyed me.
Now, with green card in hand (or in wallet, anyway) I feel like it was worth it, but at the same time feel like it was just the opening on door into a world of possibilities: I plan on sitting for the bar in July this year, and getting a good job soon thereafter. Two worthwhile goals for the after-green card process life.
And then I thought … why?
Why do the bar and get a good job? Well, because we want to buy a cozy little house, we want to be able to afford a lifestyle that includes trips home and away – to travel to far off places like Thailand and France, as well as to have nights out at a restaurant, or at a theater production or something. And then I realized this was another one of those stepping stones – another goal that led to more goals, which will then lead to other goals.
And the thing is, this whole process – leaving the country and city I had so many goals in for a new adventure in a completely different (and slightly terrifying) place – has just demonstrated to me that goals are not necessarily end points. That goals can change, adapt, or be abandoned depending o the type of goals they are, especially when they are the little goals, the goals that I set up for myself that are supposed to lead to something else. Like dominoes – knocking over each row until I get to where I want to be. I wonder how many domino rows that I have left half constructed as I switched my focus, or had it switched for me, and created a new line of black-and-white tablets? Probably more than I would be willing to admit.
And I am okay with that because I see now that goals do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they exist to structure my own experience and identity: I create those goals I have for myself. And as such, I can deconstruct them, I can follow through on them, and I can adapt for the overarching goal – that is, for me to be happy.
So, through the stress and doubt of the last few months and the whirlwind of adventure I have had with The Boy (honestly, he is the best, I do not think I could have remained so level-headed without his constant support), I am glad I have come to this – an understanding that I do not have to hold fast to once-goals as long as I can look around at my life at this moment and think to myself “I am where I want to be right now, and I am happy!”
What more can one ask for?