Spring, Exams, and Goals

Spring has finally sprung. In case you hadn’t noticed. The birds are singing, the breeze is blowing, and the sun – at least for the moment – is out. Dogs are barking all day long, because the increase in noise is simply unacceptable and someone needs to keep these silly humans in check. Kids are playing because what else would you be doing when the weather is warm and you’ve been cooped up inside for 6 months or so. All the windows in my house are open, and while it’s still not quite “shorts and t-shirts weather,” it’s warm enough. And what am I doing to celebrate the coming of spring? I’m studying for exams.

Do you ever stop and think to yourself, “Why am I doing this?” We, as adults of varying ages and disciplines, do all sorts of things that we’re “supposed to” all the time, and it seems that we rarely stop to think about why we’re supposed to do those things in the first place. But maybe an even better question is, “Will what I’m doing now let me do what I want to do later?” In my experience it’s even easier to lose sight of your goals than it is to lose track of what you’re doing at the moment. And a goal doesn’t have to be a big world thing like “get a good job” or “get into graduate school” (both said with the deep, ‘grown up’ voice,) it could simply be something like “relax,” or “have time to spend with my (family | hobby | fish tank).” If you haven’t noticed, I’m on something of a life long crusade against work for work’s sake and useless toiling in general, but even if you don’t share my opinion about society’s obsession with busy work, I think it’s always important to take time to evaluate your goals and what you’re doing to accomplish them.

Over the past few months I’ve done a lot of goal evaluation, and I can’t say that I’ve reached any conclusions. In fact, I think I’ve raised more questions than answers in my quest to discover what I want to do with my life. But in the end I know that I’m lucky to have started this process now rather than when I’m 30 and have all sorts of other challenges to deal with.

I suppose the message of this post is that “because I’m supposed to” is never a good enough reason to do anything, and “because I want to” is a fantastic reason to do many things. Living minute to minute is never a good idea, but planning too far ahead in the future is worthless. Because you don’t live in the future; you live now. And if you’re always worrying about what will happen later, you’ll never get to enjoy anything. So there are always at least two things to consider when you ask yourself “Why am I doing this:” what does it do for you now, and what does it do for you later. It’s a simple concept, but it’s also an easy concept to lose sight of.

That being said, I wish you all the best of luck with your exams, and I hope you all plan far enough into the future to do well on the exams, but enjoy the time you have off when exams are over.

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