Monday, June 04, 2007

Good Directions

Sometimes I run into a person I haven’t seen in awhile and the conversation pretty much always goes like this:

Them: What are you up to?

Me: Same thing as always. How about you?

Them: Well, I’m divorced/remarried, moved, new career, new degree, new focus, new passion, different in how many ways.

Now, the truth of the matter is that a lot is different in my life too. Life is different, for example, with children than without them, and different again with older children instead of younger children. The garden is different the first year than the fifteenth. Every year we try new things, emphasize different things, encounter different levels of failure and success in our endeavors.


My life has a direction. And really always has. No matter the detours, the wrecks, the sidetracks, the false starts, the mistakes. And so sometimes I ask other people, what is your direction? And as often as not, they say, “Direction?” Like it never occurred to them. Well, maybe it didn’t. But if you don’t have a direction, how do you get there? I used to do a goal setting piece in experiential learning workshops I conducted wherein I usually said something like, if you are going to take a vacation, what do you do first? You figure out where you are going. If you don’t, you are going to end up at the beach with snow skiing equipment, or in the mountains with only a bathing suit and sunblock. Or you get ready for a week’s vacation and only have money for one night at a hotel.

I’m always doing the same thing as always. But every single year is different. And there are always refinements.

I highly recommend having a direction. And knowing what it is.


Karen said...

It's like that song in South Pacific "if you don't have a dream then how you gonna have a dream come true" or words to that effect.

El said...

I think a lot of people have been sold on the idea that change = good. (I also think you tapped into something with your last post's comments and the "greatest" generation; these were the first fools to truly believe that change = progress. But I don't want to get into an intergenerational squabble, especially since most of my generation are also fools enough to believe it.)

Fathairybastard said...

I guess mine is forward, onward and upward, toward what I won't guess. I do like this wheel I run on. It fits me very well.

patsy said...

most people just drift along which every the way the wind is blowing at the moment.
i enjoy your post always worth reading.

Wendy said...

Yes! Yes! Yes!

In high school, I had to fill out a questionnaire with my one year, five year and ten year goals. That's not the same as a direction.

A goal is a "destination."

A direction actually implies taking the steps to reach the destination.

We had "goals" when we first bought our property that actually didn't include the property. We finally realized that we're not going anywhere, and changed from having goals to finding our direction. Things are going much more smoothly now ;), and I can see clearly the direction in which we're traveling, and that it's where we always wanted to go anyway. We just needed to figure out how to follow the path we were on, instead of looking across the way at that other road and wishing we could figure out how to get there from here ;).

Thanks, as always, for your insight :).

the Contrary Goddess said...

A great and excellent and much overlooked point that having a direction (at least in the way I am talking about) is NOT the same as having a goal. There is no goal, no place to "get to". At least, not anymore.

Ren said...

Good point.

And some of us like change AND having a general "direction". :)Change and new experiences are part of my direction in life.

the Contrary Goddess said...

well, part of the point was that change is a constant, but it is real change.

See, most of the time when people do things like, say, shave their heads, or change their husband, or move, or redecorate, or buy a new car, or whatever, they are dissatisfied (says I) with some part of their life that they are unwilling to examine and make real change in. So they make superficial change. And remain dissatisfied. And so keep doing the same thing over and over again and nothing REALLY changes at all.

Fathairybastard said...

I guess I just amble on, one payday to the next payday, so I can pay off these morgages and eventually slow down and live a little better, maybe 20 years or so down the road. Try to have a little fun along the way. Learn a few things.

Ren said...

~~And so keep doing the same thing over and over again and nothing REALLY changes at all.~~

So true.
I see it all around me.

There is a deep satisfaction in choosing one's life and knowing exactly what it is that brings you peace and joy. Choice is powerful stuff. Too many people don't see themselves as powerful beings that choose exactly the life they have.

I think schooling and coercive parenting leave people disconnected to the point that they don't know how to choose well.

the Contrary Goddess said...

and people get mad at you when you let them know that they really DO have a choice and that their lives being so ****** up is a result of their own choices I don't care what happened to them as a kid . . . I'm laughing, but it is too true -- people seem to love being victims. I get told I'm "judgmental" because I dare say that I don't want any part of the fruit of that tree.