Since I was about 28 1/2, I had been DREADING! turning 30. I mean absolutely dreading it. Sometime during my undergrad years, when career counselors started prepping us for interviews with questions such as "Where do you see yourself in five years?" I had created a mental list of Things to Do by 30 that would, in my mind, establish that I was an accomplished and capable individual. Where do I even come up with these ideas? Needless to say, that by the time I reached 30, I had only accomplished 1 of my 3 goals (yes, I actually only had 3 goals). Shortly after turning 30, my husband and I purchased a house, thereby knocking #2 off the list, and single-handedly decreasing my pathetic-ness status.
Right. So now I have turned to pondering the value of these goals. I once read about a man who sat down when he was about 18 and made a list of 100 or so things he wanted to do before he died, including climb the highest mountain on each continent, swim in all of the oceans, blah, blah, blah. In about his 30s or 40s he went back to revisit the list and crossed off "starring in a Tarzan movie," having decided that that was really just a silly boyhood dream.
At what point should one dismiss a goal as no longer attainable, or unrealistic, or just plain silly? This is a big problem for me, as I am that sort of person who, when making a to do list, will follow through with that list even if the item on the list is no longer reasonable or applicable. I just hate not having accomplished something for no good reason.
Apparently, either because I'm trying to stubbornly avoid getting old (by having too many things to do to have time to age?) or because I'm annoyed that I am actually getting older, I've been thinking a lot about the goals I made for myself in my 20s. Because, interestingly enough, I hadn't given one iota of thought at to what I would do after 30. That's because I thought that would be the age when I would start having babies and basically my life would no longer belong to me. And then I realized that I don't actually have to have babies. Whew! And now my life still belongs to me. What am I going to do with it?
Looking back (which is always dangerous, given the 20/20 nature of hindsight), in many ways, my life felt a lot more organized in my mid-twenties than it does now. When I was about 25, I was single (little did I know I was about to meet my future sweetie!), I had a great roommate (fabulous, phantasmagorical, actually), and a pretty good job. Oh, yes, and I was 25, so I could still eat pretty much whatever I wanted. I miss that.
Now, at 30, I have a wonderful husband, a pretty good job, a nice little house (with a big mortgage), and a bunch of student loan debt from my MBA (which is actually just annoying and not really cause for alarm). If I wanted to be practical, the goals for 40 would include paying off my student loans, and decreasing the amount we owe on our house. I guess I better say something self-reflective-ish, such as: and continue to work on being a decent person so hubby #1 stays hubby #1.
Other goals to reach before I turn 40? I'd like to become an author, and I'd really like to visit the Antarctic before it all melts away. So check back with me in five or 10 years to see if I've actually accomplished anything!