I am quite disenchanted about adulthood. When I was a child, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Have a job, make my own money, have my own place, have a car, come and go as I please. Get married and live with the man of my dreams. Well I have all that and now so what? This is it? Truly there must be something else, something more to achieve, but what? Why did I want all these things? For their own sake or as means to an end? But what end? For now, no end in sight to the wake up-commute-work-commute-cook dinner-feed the kiddo-clean up-sleep-wake up and do it all other again routine. Surely, there must be something more. More to enchant me again. What is there in life for a grown-up to look forward to? My husband, the poster boy of contentment and satisfaction, very unlike the restless me, says that I missing the point, quite literally. The purpose of life is to enjoy all these wonderful things I yearned for as a child and that I now have. He might be onto something. Goal for tonight: enjoy spending time cooking dinner for him and my daughter, then washing dishes, and getting to the rest of the laundry I couldn’t fit in the weekend. Yeah, what’s not enchanting about laundry? But before I can enjoy the pleasures of clean linens tonight, I first need to get enchanted about this report I need to write for work. May be then the inspiration will come. May be.
Better late than never, to say what I would like for 2013. This year, I want less. I want less clutter in the house, I want to eat less, work less, and travel less (for work purposes anyway). Then I would have more quality time with family and friends, more space to enjoy in my house, better health, and more happiness. Less is indeed more.
I was an extremely skinny child with a huge appetite for life and a wild imagination. Growing up, I spent a great deal of time in a parallel world, dreaming. About 14 years ago, one of those dreams became reality when I came the United States from my native Senegal. Here, I felt I had even more chances of making dreams come true and I wasted no time trying. Sure enough, my dreams started coming to pass. One by one, year after year, they just kept coming to pass until I couldn’t even dream fast enough. Then, came another type of realization. Less people seemed to like me, root for me, let alone help me when I needed it. After a few falling-outs and other traumatizing experiences with friends and in the work place, I realized that to some egos out there, my apparent success was perceived as a taunt, an offense, an insult. Given who I am (I am trying to not place the gender, race, age, or national origin cards openly on the table right now), how dare I out-achieve them? Not being one to offend intentionally, I stopped reaching for my goals, even when the opportunities were the ones pursuing me. With the realization that egos are best not feeling threatened, I now immediately and consistently nip any budding possibilities of further success. Ironically, I am very successful at self-sabotage. I guess I am just good at whatever I put my mind into. But I (and my “friends” or co-workers) can live with this type of success. It’s a messed up sort of win-win situation. Even so, I continue to realize every day new facets of the darker side of human nature I could never imagine existed when I was just a little girl with not much more dreams. As fear and depression set in, my very ability to dream started to fade away.
Last year, I came closest to successfully closing my heart to the last dream that won’t stop nagging it. I did not put together the book proposal for the memoir which was my last hope for regaining my ability to conjure dreams and go after them. One rainy morning in September of 2011, I had the day off from work and was feeling pretty inspired, I quickly wrote and sent a query letter to 5 literary agents. One of them, whom I found while researching agencies that have represented what I consider ultimate success for the type of book I want to write, responded within 15 minutes asking for the first 100 pages of my book which she claimed she would read “with a lot of interest”. Well, it was I who rejected a promising literary agent. I responded to her with a tone I now realize might have sounded a bit annoyed that there are no 100 pages to share; that I am still working on the proposal and could send it to her if she wants. She further replied yes to receiving the proposal when it is ready, which was, unbeknownst to her, a surefire way to get me to stop working on it. I had been making a decent headway until then.
A couple of weeks ago, a fellow WordPress blogger wrote about “dreaming in the dark” and it resounded loudly in the community. A lot of people, including me of course, can relate. I wrote a short comment sharing my theory about it being a generational issue. I have another, related, theory which links the American ego to the murder of the American dream(er). This would have been the underlying theory in my memoirs of how I went from promising Harvard graduate to barely able to function daily, let alone achieve the greatness I had once dreamed of. I believe that what is killing us softly is the competition in our work, business, education, and living “communities”, which is, pun-intended, too cut-throat. But I digress…
Coincidentally, I read the Dreaming in the Dark post right after writing in my own blog about a new (and improved) attempt at setting life goals that are more conducive to happiness. In those days, all the talk about this world ending and a new one emerging had infused me with newfound hope. I drew from it new energies to dream that I haven’t been able to muster any other way recently. So I must confess that I have been dreaming again lately. Not “in the dark” but in the closet, in hiding. I am still afraid and I am taking it slowly and easy. I am starting with small innocent dreams that are not threatening or scaring anyone, not even me. For example, yesterday, New Year’s Day 2013, after a short but serious bout of depression during which I told my husband that I can’t go on anymore,…I went on…dreaming. I even put up a white board on one wall of my walk-in closet to sketch new dreams. Dreams for the New Year, the New Me and the New Earth.
Despite my best intentions with this new blog, to not stay too long without posting and my most genuine efforts, I was not able to complete this post sooner. True, I was heartbroken over the Sandy Hook tragedy and that accounted for some of my lethargy, but even before it, I had some difficulties coming up with the content of what I saw as the logical next post in this aptly titled blog. A post about setting the life-altering goals which achievement this blog exists to document.
I thought step #1, and first major blog post, would be listing the set of life-changing, overarching goals which, achieved together, would change my life in the way I want, actually need, it. Then the real effort would be to start working towards those goals. But such ambitious goals can’t be conceived of in the same manner as a grocery list or the to-do lists with which I always start my work mornings. I realized I needed to take a step back. So now Goal # 1 is to set goals. Then I proceeded to do just that and the more I thought about my goals should be, the more I realized the complexity and scope of the task. I now have a renewed appreciation for goal-setting. It does not lend itself easily to willy nilly, random sort of thinking at which I have become adept. As in most things, the quality of what you put in is really what you get out of it. So this time, I must be thoughtful, mindful, careful. I must take my time and not rush this. (Wow, that’s a big change in itself and I am sure would have made it to the list of goals I am after). Which basically means I must have clear and sincere intentions in the process of setting goals. Then I realized I needed to take yet another step back. Goal #1 is now figuring out the intent behind the ultimate and the intermediate changes I am seeking to make. I want to be an accomplished writer but why? What is the intention behind it? Selling books and becoming a millionaire? I don’t know yet but I am off to finding out. Off inwards. I have never taken the time to start from this deep before. So instead of being jaded and self-doubting my ability to achieve change this time around, I am a little giddy. I feel like I am onto something with these new first steps I have included this time around. I feel like they may hold the key to me achieving some degree of success in making the desired changes this time around. Key word: desired (changes). You have to know very clearly in your heart and mind what the desire is before you can make the change.
Hello and welcome to my blog! I started it yesterday Sunday December 9th, 2012 after agonizing for what seems like centuries over starting this blog; writing more towards my book; finding a new job; making the switch to organic (subsistence agriculture in my backyard); just to name a few of the changes I feel the urge to make in my life. I titled the first post yesterday “2012 pressures” because the year 2012 is what I blame for these intense urges I feel to make changes in my life. So yesterday I took one plunge and got this blog started. It is a strategic move as this blog is hopefully one overarching means to achieve the many changes I must achieve or die of some chronic depression-induced immune disease. This unrelenting need for change also inspired the title and subtitle of this blog. I wanted to name it The Goal Post, but that was taken. As its name rightfully indicates, The Goal Post was supposed to refer to the goals for change- and the benchmarks for achieving them- which I have set and which I now seriously intend to work towards. But I am happy with the blog title I had to come up when I realized the Goal Post was taken and I hope you like it too.
My vision is for this blog to be catalytic and cathartic with respect to my writing/career and my emotional health, respectively. I also envision a place where I not only document my progress but where I can link with a few thousand new close friends who may be engaged in a similar journey and share experiences, camaraderie, tips, and perhaps occasionally, kicks in the rear.
So if you know a thing or two about depression; career change; soul-searching or better yet self-discovery, then please stop by and leave a word of enlightenment or encouragement for the rest of us.
PS: In the next post, I will introduce myself and provide a bit more background and insight into the making of the current situation and how I intend to get out of it.
I actually do think that December 21, 2012 marks the end of the world. Not in an apocalyptic, doomsday sort of way, but the end of the world as we’ve known it and the beginning of a new era. An era in which humanity will begin to reclaim its divine heritage. This is the era of humanity’s rise towards the realization of its divine nature.