A few weeks ago, I posted about goals , habits, and resolutions, and I shared my calendar approach. What isn’t on my calendar: 10,000 steps a day. I have a FitBit to track that.
Promptly, I knocked my goal down to 8,000 steps a day, so that I could spend more time writing (or thinking about writing, which is not writing). Yesterday, I had to face the fact that I have developed tendonitis–and the online site I found said to stop walking. It is really hard to meet an 8K-step goal if you aren’t walking. Insert sad face here.
I was thinking about my other goals–those lofty achievements I’ve kept on my list for years: get poems on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, win a Pushcart Prize or have a poem in Best American Poetry, read at the 92nd Street Y (it’s kind of embarrassing, but I said they were lofty). The problem is that none of those goals are in my control. I can keep trying to write the best poems I can write, I can keep trying to protect my writing time and use it more wisely, I can keep reading and learning as much as I can, but I can’t make any of those goals happen. Really, they aren’t goals; they’re wishes.
Stepping back a little further, I thought about what those wishes represent–acknowledgement of my work, recognition for the poems I write. Stepping back further, they are deep-down about wanting to be liked. And if my goal is at its heart about wanting to be liked, is writing a poem the best way forward? What about being kind, focusing on kindness instead of achievement?
Sure, I would be thrilled if any of those things happened (the list included getting my current manuscript published)–but I have erased those goals as things that I need to accomplish. I am still working on and playing with poems. I’m still in class and going back to school this summer. But I’m taking this time to refocus on who I want to be in this world.