Monday, March 12, 2012

not really for you

I've been wanting to post on here nearly every day since I got back, but there's a little voice in the back of my head that talks me out of it every single time. You're not overseas anymore, it tells me. Your story isn't interesting right now. If your life were a movie, everyone in the theater would have gone to the bathroom or the snack stand for the time being.

But this morning, as I was surfing the internet, trying to figure out what on earth it is people do online for hours at a time, a thought struck me. Do you really write for them anyway? Or is this blog for you?

Oh right. It's for me.

With the blog being my primary means of communication with most of my family and friends while I'm overseas, I've gotten accustomed to the idea that things I post on here need to be interesting, exciting, entertaining. I feel like I need hilarious stories and breathtaking pictures to make my posts worthwhile, but honestly, I'm probably the only one who consistently reads my posts anyway. Well, me and my grandma. Hey, Grandma!

I know it's March and the last thing anyone's thinking about is New Year's Resolutions right now, but I've been thinking about them lately, and, as we just established, this is my blog. So we're going to talk about resolutions. Or bucket lists. Something about goals. Yeah.

The ever-present teacher in me came up with this really cool (note: "really cool" is subjective here) idea for a lesson about being specific in your writing. A car didn't just drive past; a 1969 silver Camaro roared down the windy country road. She didn't just fall down; the pig-tailed girl in the polka-dotted dress toppled out of the tire swing. You get the idea.

This idea of being precise in your descriptions can translate to being precise in your goals. "Go to the gym more" is ambiguous, hard to reach. So are "make more friends" and "travel." The goal is too vague to be practical; it's hard to wake up in the morning and think, "Ahh, today I shall be healthier." What does that even mean?

Our goals should be specific, concrete. Instead of "take more pictures," which is indefinite and difficult to measure, give yourself a tangible goal. Perhaps you could take ten pictures at every family gathering, or find one thing a week to take a picture of.

Yesterday I was in the car with my mom and little sister, and we were talking about bucket lists. My former roommate, Emily, had a "30 before 30" list that she kept in a spreadsheet on her computer (she made my heart so happy), and I always thought that was a fantastic idea. I'm discovering as I sit in my dad's big comfy chair day in and day out that adventure doesn't usually just happen to us; we have to go out and make it happen. Sure, it's challenging and we'll often be stretched more than we thought we could handle. But I'd much rather regret the things I did than the things I left undone.

I'm not going to force myself to write thirty goals for the sake of having a "30 before 30" list. I'd rather have five goals I'm actually passionate about than come up with thirty on the spot just to round out this blog post. I'm sure I'll get to thirty eventually. And I'll organize them all in a spreadsheet. And it will be magical.

Some (specific) things I'd like to do before I'm thirty:
- Perform an original poem at an open mic night
- Read a book in Central Park
- Hold hands and skip across the Great Wall (is this legal? eh, being in chinese prison can be a goal too)
- Teach at an underprivileged school in my licensure area
- Get five new stamps in my passport
- Perfect one recipe from each country I've lived in
- Memorize a book of the Bible
- Attend a conference or convention about something I'm passionate about once a year

Oh, and I suppose one of my goals is to finally write about my time in India. It'll show up here eventually, once I figure out how to boil three months of watching God do amazing things into a handful of paragraphs on a backlit screen.


  1. Just for the record...I have read every single blog post :)

    But you should probably thank google reader for keeping me on track <3