I found an old file on my computer today called “What I want.” It’s a running file, only parts of it dated. So it’s hard to tell which parts were written when. It runs from 2000 to 2004 at which point I apparently lost track of it.
Among the things I wanted:
Black bag/backpack, big enough for my books & papers
Finish revising DAGBF
New flooring for the house
UNI on submission
Hardy gardenia & jasmine
Lots of little sterling silver beads
I don’t exactly remember when I got the things I wanted. I checked them off for awhile before I lost the file but never dated them. I know I ended up getting a new-to-me pair of black boots eventually. I still have them.
What strikes me about this list is the willful disregard for what was readily within my capabilities, what was fairly unlikely considering my somewhat limited resources, and what was completely outside my control.
This is considered a no-no by The Experts. You’re supposed to have the serenity to accept that selling a book is probably impossible, the courage to send it out anyway, and the wisdom to know… Er, well, it was something like that. Anyway, you’re supposed to distinguish between what’s in your power and what isn’t.
But somehow, I like that it’s all jumbled together.
Elsewhere in the file was this chunk:
Let my prayer go up as this, that I may write stories of such potent grace as to touch every soul and defy every rejection. That the truth and beauty of my stories earn me a place among the most successful romance novelists. That such success manifests on both the physical and spirtual planes, enabling me to live the dream of being a successful artist and helping those closest to me achieve the same goal. That living the dream makes me and those around me happy and fulfilled.
Putting aside the naive, melodramatic and presumptuous wording (welcome to my first drafts!) I think the sentiment captures a sincere mix of transcendent and gutter-swiping desire that is at the heart of a life’s journey.
I mean, yes, I want world peace, but I did also need shoes.
Still, I think I’ll be refining my 2009 resolutions to clarify these different graspabilities.
1. Goals: I do believe The Experts that you need to set swallowable goals to work your way through a 400-page manuscript or a 100-year life. So I’ll make sure I have concretely set daily page counts, reps of sit-ups, and an actual completion date for scraping the loose paint off the side of the house.
2. Resolutions: But I think pushing for something a little farther out is important too. All those little goals are in pursuit of a grander desire, yeah? So maybe some of those resolutions I won’t revisit until this time next year, but I’ll know they are my beacon through the fog of daily chores.
3. Dreams: The impossible dream. Can you “set” a dream? I think so. Like setting a course across uncharted seas by the position of the sun using only a sextant and my damp thumb in the wind. Okay, lots of explorers never came back using those techniques, but some of them discovered new-to-them worlds.
Maybe I can’t set a goal to be a bestselling novelist, but I can set a dream for such. I can make a resolution to have a kick-ass web presence. And I can chart goals for blogging, making a book trailer, publishing my tips for writers, etc.
2009 is gonna be great. Dream it. Want it. Make it.