A Drive for Life Verse Goals

Artwork: Myself

There are often days when I’m too scared to leave the house. I question my own judgement. I feel good today, I think to myself yet I never accomplish all I want to.

I write a list. The A’s are the must do list. The B’s are the earth won’t shatter but should probably get done. The C’s are mostly insignificant to my goals but would be fun to do.

I write the list in pencil.

I erase the words.

I’m intrigued by the fact I feel confident yet have no idea what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.

It’s impossible to know what the future holds for me. When I was in my thirties I learned the only thing I can plan on is nothing going as planned. The vision I once had for myself isn’t the vision I have now.

When I worked in the field of Violence and Abuse Prevention I had to make immediate decisions that would impact people’s future but there was no time to consider their future. There was only enough time to make a decision in the moment to save lives.

I was good at it but unfortunately some lives were lost. It was beyond my control.

I did my best to defuse the situation but there were times I failed and have to live with that decision. This is how I determined my success, by how I feel about myself when I go to sleep at night.

Isn’t that what it’s really about? Now, as a creativeprenuer I have so many stories to share about these experiences, life lessons I’ve learned and the inner depth of who I am. I could truly create a positive impact with these stories but as with all moments difficult to swallow I shut down and I can’t.

I can’t because even with a PhD and a decade of field experience under my belt I ended each day of my career wondering, What the fuck is wrong with people? What are we doing? How can we harm each other?

I should have an answer but I don’t. This is not successful.

My goal a decade ago was to retire from Behavioral Science. I no longer have that vision for myself. I’ve made decisions that have changed the course of my future, decisions I can live with.

We tend to determine our success by job title, salary and whether or not we can afford our dream car. We rave about all man and woman have created, how we’ve become modernized and the constant development of technology.

We determine success on the amount of Facebook likes or Instagram followers we get when we should be focusing on how to make the world a better place.

These things destroy us in their own way. We weaken human connection, the ability to create with our hands and the driving force of life, the vulnerability that make us who we are.

We believe we got up this morning and went to jobs we hate because we need those jobs to support our lifestyle. It’s an irrational expectation to put on ourselves.

At what point do we change our lifestyle? We bring meaning to the table when we measure success by the memories we create.

Am I living a life right now where I can genuinely say these are the memories I want to create? Can happiness outweigh money? Finances are with no doubt a stressor because we’re programmed to stress over it, therefore causing unhappiness.

I think about all the single moms out there working two jobs to give their kids the best life they can. I think about people who experience mental illness who give up on themselves because it’s a daily struggle to work. There are cities that live in poverty because our society is designed this way.

There are those with less so we feel as if we have more.

Society has a firm grasp on us. We view this as a negative, but the very definition of society is us. We are society. So to say society has unrealistic expectations, we are the ones with unrealistic expectations.

It controls us.

When I lay down in bed some nights I ask myself, Why aren’t we successful if we feel good about ourselves when we go to sleep? Aren’t I successful if I end the day with at least one memory I’ll always want to keep?

If we feel good things may just start to change for the better. We need to let go of the idea of materialism and popularity. We need to strive for the future.

We need to take back our power and design the life we want for ourselves instead of living within the design of survival.

This is what success means to me. I may not be successful by the standards of others, but I’ll be successful by mine.

Reporter based in Eastern Iowa. Pro- equality. Anti- AR15. My hobbies include emotional eating, petting cats, hibernating and farming.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store