Hear that? That’s the sound of me aging. Seriously. So old now. Wait…even older now. You too, though. But it’s especially noticeable for me, today, on this day my parents tell me is my birthday. Why? Because, if you’re like me, birthdays make you think…
Like New Year’s almost.
At least for me.
Cause if there’s any day makes me pause truly, and examine my life, where I’ve come, where I’m going, what I’ve done, it’s my birthday.
The problem though, is that I’m not such a “goal person”. Not long-term, at least. Not a year into the future.
I dunno why really, but I’ve just never been all that great at focusing on things too far out; to stay motivated in accomplishing any particular or specific thing over so long a period into the future.
Maybe that’s bad. Maybe I should try harder. I don’t know. But for me, I’ve always been much better with what’s in front of me, with what small things I can do now to get where I want to go then – a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.
I’ve always been better at doing what can be done now.
Step 1. Rather than agonizing about step 100.
And so on days like today…
…I never list out things I want done at this same point next year. I don’t bullet grand goals to strive towards, or count experiences to soon make reality. I don’t live by lists or checkboxes. I don’t plan my days by something I scribbled on paper 12 months ago.
I live my life, instead, according to my vision of my life; of the person I’ll be, the Self I’ll be, the life I’ll call my own.
I ask myself – rather than “What will I have? And what will I have done?” – “How do I see myself at this point next year?”
“Who will Adam be then?
And these questions different than you might imagine them.
I don’t mean them as others may have meant them before – like the interviewer who asks “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?”
Cause I’m not talking about your job, or your position, or whatever crap like that.
Not exactly, at least.
I’m asking who you’ll be.
And that’s different than simply asking “What are your goals?” Because it’s not simply a laundry list of things you want. It’s not the naming of your every dream or desire in life. Because unlike the typical New Year’s resolutions, or birthday resolutions, or interview questions, or whatever, the question really has nothing to do with the things that must be done from now till then to achieve an “end”, but entirely with what is already being done right now as a means towards that “end”. Not the “end” of your desires, but the “end” of your Self – of who and what you are and are becoming.
Who will you be?
It’s not about the specific things you yet want to do or accomplish, then, but about the person you are becoming, and the life you are creating.
It’s not about the new car you want, or job you want, or relationship you want, but about whether you are now becoming someone that might achieve those.
In fact, it’s not about the external accomplishments or recognition or possessions at all, but about whether the internal compass of your purpose and attention are already set upon them.
Ultimately, it’s not about the final destination of your journey, but about the direction at which that journey – your self, your life – is pointed.
It’s about You – driven not by a list of tasks to complete, experiences to enjoy, or achievements to accomplish – but instead by the ideals upon which your better Self must live. You – driven by the idea of who you will become on your present course, and must every day work towards or against to achieve the vision you imagine.
Driven to be, not to get. Striving to become, not to acquire.
Really, the question means this:
With how you are now, and with what you are doing now, where will that path lead you one year from today – inevitably? What person will that create and what life might that person expect? Will you be better than you are today? Will you be more centered, more strong, more deserving? Or will you be much the same, or even worse?
Are you on the path towards something greater, a greater You, or simply walking – aimlessly, with no set sight or purpose?
Are you doing as you need right now to see to it that at this point next year – no matter what you may have then, or what you may have accomplished by then – that you’ll be proud of yourself, that you’ll be closer, that you’ll be better?
What is certain is that your life will be different one year from today – as all lives and things will be different – in a million ways you might see and not see. All things do change.
But will your problems be the same, and another year of your life wasted? Will your weaknesses and heartaches be the same – no different than today, or perhaps all your life heretofore? Will those things you perceive to be your handicaps still control you? Or will you have defeated them, or worked towards defeating them?
Cause what few see is that our lives are like arrows, always directed towards some end, always pointing towards some horizon – whether we see it or not, whether we like it or not. No life is ever stopped. No life is ever stagnant, truly. All are headed towards some destination; are set upon some path.
The boy who studies day and night – missing sleep, missing parties, ignoring all that might distract him or discourage him; giving everything he has to studies which give no true immediate reward – is creating his future every day. He is setting himself upon a path that will lead somewhere, someplace – likely something great.
And the kid who instead sits on his ass all day at home – playing XBox, chatting with friends, doing “whatever” is – just as surely – creating his future as well, every day. He is setting himself upon a path that will also lead somewhere, someplace. And given his interests, and habits, likely towards something far different than the other boy.
…however we are, and with whatever we’re doing – are also creating our future every day.
Where does your arrow point, as you are now?
To what does it point?
Where will you be?
How will you be?
Who will you be?
Because an arrow on a line cannot point at itself. It must, and always, point somewhere. Where is that somewhere for You?
And so when I look at myself every birthday – when I examine who I am and who I’m becoming, and ask myself where will I be one year from today, I don’t look at it as: “What things will I have or call my own?”
I don’t care about that.
I see it as: “On this day, one year from today, who will I be, as a result of the actions I am taking now and the person I am becoming now?”
Where will I wake up? With who will I wake up? What will I rise to do that day? And why will I rise to do it?
Will I be stronger in this, or wiser in that? Will I be smarter at this, or more understanding in that?
Will I be better off? Will I be better?
And when I have a vision of that – of that person, that lifestyle, that life – THAT is what I work towards every day. That is what drives me and what inspires me – that I become that person, that I create that life, that I am a year’s struggle closer to the fruition of the man whom I’m meant to be.
The vision, not the goals. The person, not the things.
And when that vision is set, only then are goals worth setting. Only then are they an achievable and attainable thing.
Only when you have a vision of who you are becoming can you almost, kinda, positively-maybe predict the future.
Share and comment below. I see it in your future.