As you know, I quite like Lunar New Year falling at the time of year that it does; just around the time all the weeks where you can’t do many of the things you want to do, because it’s still school holidays, and things are just … harder than normal.
Now the Lunar New Year – the Year of the Fire Chicken/Rooster – has kicked off, and we’ve got past these first few non-productive weeks of the new year and routine is close to being (re)established, we can have a proper think about out goals for the year.
I hope you haven’t given up on the plans/goals/resolutions you set for yourself at the start of the month? Please tell me you didn’t do the “I can’t stick with this, I’m just going to give up”. And if you did, let’s rethink and maybe go from here, now things are normal.
Your normal, of course.
I’ve been thinking about my own goals, and working towards organising my days to complete the things that need to be done to achieve them; things like making the time to blog more, and do more of my own writing, to actually produce something that others will read.
I’m referring to it, in my own head, as This Years Great Wall. Last year, my focus had been on training and partaking in the Great Wall for SANE Challenge. From here on in, I think I will use it as my benchmark for goals I set each year.
It was a sizeable goal, so the aim is to set some goals that are equally sizeable, as well as significant.
When I think of big, scary, hairy goals that make a significant difference to others, I can’t help but flashback to a conversation I had with a friend a while back, whom, after enduring an end-of-day ranty offload followed by an overwhelm explanation of why I love my job, stated:
You’re not exactly curing cancer.
Admittedly, she was correct. I wasn’t. And I’m still not.
I would like to take the opportunity to explain a few things, because under no circumstances is anyone to make any snide, snarky, judgey judgements about this comment.
In her defence, she’d copped a full force download of my day; which had been full of frustrations, extra work, and co-workers with the work ethic of a dead brick. No, no … not that much of an ethic. A dead slug, perhaps. She got it all before she’d even finished greeting me.
“Why do you bother then?” she asked (or something along those lines, it was a while back).
She then experienced the full extent of my passion. I love what I do, I am aware of the impact it has on others, and I can be really, really overwhelming when I talk about things I’m passionate about. I forget that a lot of people don’t feel as passionate as I do about things, and that they don’t always feel comfortable when people show the raw emotions that come with being passionate.
I, on the other hand, light up when I listen to someone lighting up about the thing they love. I forget that’s not normal.
Basically, she’d endured quite a bit from me.
I understand the “you’re not exactly curing cancer” reaction.
It hurt. I still found it offensive.
But I get it.
I give you all of that for context, really. It’s not about the conversation or relationship. What it is about is how often this remark, or variations of it, are tossed around; often when someone is so extremely frustrated about their job or workplace. Or, indeed, when someone gets excited and passionate about it.
It makes me think … where do we draw the line about our passions, our goals, and whatever the things are that we want to achieve?
Is there a line that you cross that says you can no longer be frustrated about your job, workplace or life, because it’s not worthy enough to be frustrated about? You can be a little bit frustrated, but once you hit a certain level, then you’ve crossed a line.
Is there only a certain amount of enjoyment or fulfillment you can have for the things you do in life, because, well, really, they’re not that brilliant.
Curing cancer, you’re allowed to be fulfilled 10 out of 10, but if you’re a barista, perhaps only a 6?
Does it mean that if you’re doing the things that aren’t curing cancer, like, I dunno, research into curing any number of other diseases, providing support or assistance for other diseases or disorders, or making coffee you should probably just give up because you’re not curing cancer?
Is curing cancer the only thing worth doing in life?
Please, please don’t get me wrong; it is a vitally important thing to do, and I sure as hell hope that someone finds a cure soon.
Thing is, I, personally, and a lot of other people I know, would prefer to leave it to the people who know what they’re doing, and particularly to those who have the passion and drive to persist. Because I imagine it would also be one of the must frustrating, depressing, feelings-of-failure inducing jobs in the world.
I think it’s ok for you to go ahead and do the thing that makes you happy, fulfills you, challenges you, and gives you a reason to get up every morning, even if it isn’t curing cancer.
I think it’s ok for you to be frustrated or angry, passionate or excited through the course of whatever it is you do. Sometimes, both at the same time.
Even if that thing is just for you, and has little to no impact on anyone else – losing weight, saving for a world trip, decluttering the house – then it’s still ok to be excited and passionate about it, and be frustrated when stuff doesn’t go to plan, or is thwarted by others. Or whatever.
Sure, things could be worse – you could be trying to cure cancer and not succeeding, for example.
It could also be better.
So I ask you again, have you given up on all those things you promised you were doing to do on the first day of this month?
Are you going to get over yourself, stop beating yourself up, because the month of January, for a lot of people, is practically a write off for anyone trying to establish any kind of lifestyle anything?
Have you set some goals that light you up, fill you with excitement, and give you passion?
Will you share them with me?