I had a plan. Then I got sick.
But then, you know what they say about the best laid plans.
This morning I was talking with a friend. Sometimes I do some budget consulting. I don’t have the energy to do much of it, but I love it, and do it when I can. I always begin with discussing the person’s/couple’s goals. These goals can be anything: buying a house, buying a smart phone, getting a dog, having children, traveling the world, starting a business, retiring young…. there are endless possibilities.
Today I happened to be working with a friend, so it was more casual than when I get paid by strangers to consult for them. After we’d gone through her goals, her spending, her debt, her income, and her savings, we talked some more about goals. And she asked me about mine.
Most people assume my goal is to get healthy, but it’s actually not. I know I’ll never be completely healthy, and I also know I want more than that.
We all had plans that were different when we were healthier. Some got derailed because of health, some got derailed for other reasons, and some were achieved. After my friend left, I thought again about my goals. I think the most unusual thing about them is how often I think about them and change them. Most people, I would guess, hardly ever step back to look at the bigger picture. They assume they’ll do the things society tells them to do, like get a job, get married, buy a house, and have children, probably in that order. But they don’t think beyond that. I know I didn’t. In fact, that’s about what my life plan looked like.
Just before I got sick, I started thinking about leaving my 9-5 job and starting my own business. I didn’t know what that would be. I thought I might try to earn a living off of blogging (spoiler alert: this blog is 4 years old and earns nothing, so that won’t be how I earn my fortune.) I considered some other options. I dated and looked for Mr. or Ms. Right. And mostly I put one foot in front of the other.
Since I’ve been out of work, I am constantly thinking about the present and the future, about what I want and how to achieve it. I change it constantly, as my health and moods change. I’ve come up with several potential ways to work for myself from home part time. I know that I want a dog. I want to improve my health as much as possible while not being obsessed with it. I want a dog. I would love to find a life partner, but I’m also currently content with being single. I want to live someplace quiet and peaceful, preferably near the water. I want to exercise regularly, including physical therapy. I want to be financially stable. I want to spend less time home alone and more time with people I love. And did I mention that I want a dog?
Most people don’t think about their goals often, if at all. Having a chronic illness doesn’t necessarily change that. For some people, it might make them think about their goals less. I happen to go the opposite way. I need something to reach for. I need a happy place to aim for. It gives me a reason to try. Let’s face it, living with chronic illness is work! Reaching for my goals gives me a bit of incentive not to give up on that work.
What about you? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about your goals? Do you avoid them? Do you change your goals over time? What’s one thing on your list?
I think for most of us it is much easier to just focus on the day to day and forget the future, I think that’s a huge problem with society as a whole. We have to step outside ourselves and look beyond our noses a bit and figure out what is really important. We’ve worked really hard to get out of debt and stay that way. With chronic illness you just never know when a new health issue will pop up and cost money, or what may happen with my income at any point, so it’s important for us to stay on a path of financial health (- good on you for helping others do that).
My goals right now – finish my degree this year, before I’m 40, find new fun ways to earn an income despite my illness, maintain a happy relationship with my husband – easier said than done, and travel.
Congratulations on getting and staying out of debt! That’s not easy.
Those are some great goals. I hope you achieve them all. You’re certainly making great progress towards the first! When do you get your degree? June or December?
December if all goes well.
How fantastic! Please let me know how it goes!