Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Note To My Daughter


I have a Post-It note on my computer monitor observing that there is a constant duel between life being our daily routine, and life being the exceptions to our daily routine.

Every day we do some of the same things; these habits are the fabric of our daily lives. But a life of pure routine strikes us a a dead-end existence. We crave the exceptions to routine, the things that make today different from yesterday, and that promise that tomorrow will be different from today.

Yet when we look back at the "good old days", it's usually a period of time, not a single event or even a series of events. In looking back we realize that there can be fulfillment in routine, so long as that routine is directed at our life's goals (work, wealth, relationships, volunteerism, whatever goals we set to fulfill our lives).

Take a look at your life. Sit back, and see what you've done so far, and think about what you really wish to have happen. There are a lot of things that I wish would happen in my life, but some of those wishes don't make it onto my list of goals because the life I lead isn't directed at fulfilling those wishes.

Of all the things you wish for, decide which of these wishes to make into goals. Think about how important they are to you; think about how important it is to make the fulfillment of some of those wishes a part of your future life. Does it matter? Is it selfish? Does it make me a better person? Does it do something for the future me? This last question applies to just about everything, from reading a good book to saving for retirement to raising kids.

Once you've started thinking about these things, you'll find that it's hard to sort them out. I've told you to prioritize, to make the big decisions about life on purpose, with your eyes wide open, rather than just coasting into things. But it doesn't hurt to take some time, coasting along while you consider these big issues.

You'll find over time that some of your wishes should be real goals, that they're important and that you need to work for them. Other wishes will lose their appeal; you'll realize that the "future you" doesn't need some of these wishes fulfilled in order to be a happy and fulfilled person.

Take your time. Discuss some of your goals and wishes with your life partner. Find out what his wishes and goals are. Sometimes you'll share goals, sometimes your goals will include helping him reach his goals, and sometimes his goal will be to help you reach your goals.

You give up a lot by entering onto a life-path such as marriage at an early age -- you have obligations, the details of which you did not see before committing yourself. But that doesn't mean that you're in a position where you can't find fulfillment. Take some time to sit back, think, share, and enjoy individual days. Over a period of days and weeks, I think you'll find that your "true wishes" and goals reveal themselves, that they're not impossible to reach, and that you can be happy living a life of routine that is aimed at achieving those goals and making the "future you" a better, more interesting, more happy person than ever.


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