goals, aspirations, beautiful dreams

When I first got this surgery, I didn’t have any goals at
all. Well, that’s not true. My first real goal was "Please make it through
this alive, okay, because that would be so nice." And it was nice, the
surviving thing, as it turns out. But once I got that out of the way, waking up
in the hospital and thinking "Gee, I sure like morphine," it was time
to sit down (well, really, lie down) and come up with a Life Plan. Which was
kind of hard to do, on the morphine. Most of the goals I developed were along
the "bleeeeergh" and "wheeeeee!" lines, and those are not
goals that will carry you through your life. Unless you have a much better life
than I do.

After they took the morphine away from me and sent me home
for more "blergh" than "whee," I had a clearer head, and, coincidentally, a little
more drive and ambition. Most of my drive went toward "breathing"
and most of my ambition was channeled into "living through the day,"
but I set aside some moments to think about what I wanted to do next. And thus,
the goals on the sidebar, over to your right, were born. And now I am rereading them for the first
time since March. Oh, hello goals! I remember you.

You should know this about me: I am the kind of person who
sits down on January 1 with a brand new, fresh notebook, all clean and white
and filled with possibility, and a brand new medium-point pen, and thinks very
hard about her resolutions for the upcoming year. I am filled with
determination and hope, and this is going to be the best year ever! In the
history of years! Because I am going to make so many changes! It will be great!
Me and Positive Life Changes will be best friends and have a picnic! I
dutifully draw up a list of the things I need to fix, and under each item I
write out a plan for fixing it. I really do. I am fully aware of what a dork
I am.

Then I put that fresh notebook in a safe place beside my bed
or on my desk or somewhere I will see it every day, like in the freezer, because
now I will be cooking healthy dinners every night like a healthy, well-adjusted
adult as part of my plan for world domination in this bright and beautiful new
year. Then promptly, immediately, probably even while the notebook with all my
goals and plans and ideas is still in my hands, I forget all about my
resolutions. Thus, another year goes by with very little changing, because
what’s the point of making any positive transformations without a wholly
arbitrary and meaningless date to hang their start date on? And then I find a
ruined notebook in the freezer.

So the goals on the sidebar? I typed them up all nice and
neat and attractive. I nodded once, decisively and with great resolution and
drive, and then I wandered off looking for ham or a lie down. Or a lie down
with ham. And there went all my dreams of having Hugh Laurie, right out the
window. Because you can’t achieve a goal unless you work for it, man.

That list, there, though–I did pretty poorly. I survived, as
I have noted. I would like to give
myself some extra points for that, because survival felt pretty touch and go for awhile. I was on the edge! I could have died any second! I would have
welcomed the sweet embrace of death! But I was so brave. However, here’s where
the failures begin. I did not ever find pants that fit, because my ass does not
cooperate. My ass says pants? you have
got to be kidding me.
A couple of times, I nearly convinced myself that it
was okay to wear a sheet to work. Somehow, I managed to avoid that, and found
that skirts are the way to go. Even when a skirt is hanging off your hips, you
still look reasonably okay, unlike too-large pants where, if I may put it
delicately, it looks like you have a load in your pants. So maybe we can go
ahead and count that as a win.

Let’s look some more at wins, because the losses are
depressing me. Running! That is a win. I have run and run and run and run and,
while I am still slow, I continue to run. And then I eat tuna out of the can,
because I have not started to cook for myself. Which is not a win, so we will
just move along quickly to the way I made it through my brother’s wedding. Go
me! And the making it through, which was really less of a win and more of a
gimme, but I’m going to go ahead once more and give myself some shiny new
points which maybe I will be able to exchange for gifts and services at the
concierge desk. Where I will pick
something up nice for my mom, who has turned out to be less something to
survive, and more someone who has been wonderful and there for me and concerned
and proud. Not so much my own accomplishment, that one, but I will not deduct
points! There are already too many point deductions, about which I do not want
to think.

But look, it’s July. July felt very far away when I first
wrote those things up, and now, my mother reminds me (hi, Mom!), and so too does Stephanie (hi, Stephanie!), my goals are all out of date. I have to come up with some way to
continue living my life and making it through all of the mistakes I make and my
forgetfulness and silliness and self-pity and ridiculousness. I would like to
have a path and a plan and safety lights that illuminate to guide me to the
nearest exit in case of an emergency. I want a fresh notebook, and a fresh new
medium-point pen, and that feeling of hopefulness, maybe this time without the
secret resignation to my failure that already has taken hold of me before I
write the first word. Things seem easier, nowadays, even when they are harder,
and sometimes I think maybe even my resolutions will stick.

6 Replies to “goals, aspirations, beautiful dreams”

  1. Goals are cool. But, man, they are like budgets – you make them based on the best information you have at the time. They are going to change. At least you have a plan, albeit theoretical, for how to reach them. That’s what differentiates them from dreams.

    Points belong right down there in the garbage with demerits and permanent files, don’t you agree? Let’s move quickly beyond junior high and just keep moving, and you can run if you feel like it.

    Death to fine point pens!


  2. Goodness, you’re a little hard on yourself, kiddo. If I didn’t relate to it so painfully well myself, I’d wonder what the hell is wrong with you (instead I sigh dramatically and wonder what the hell is wrong with US). Seriously, cut yourself some slack!

    Goals can be good, and can keep you in focus, but they are not meant to rule you. Or set you up for failure (or perceived failure). Be more flexible.

    Let’s examine: you survived. I think you deserve a few extra points for that, because it sounds like it was sheer hell, what you went through in those early days.

    Another item: Pants That Fit, see Haven’t Found. Ok, let’s turn this around and consider it an accomplishment. You haven’t found pants that fit because your body is literally changing before your very eyes. A little hard to get pants that fit a constantly morphing body, ya know. This one’s frustrating and annoying, but not exactly a failure. Plenty of time for pants later. Stick with the skirts and always carry safety pins.

    Ok, on this one I’m biased: the running. Big kudos. HUGE kudos. Lots of bonus points. I’m impressed with you, and you should be too, and just keep doing it and I promise you’ll feel like you’re hitting new goals every day. This one is life changing, mentally and physically.

    Try add “loving myself just a wee bit more” (see Mom) to your list. Because you have adapted amazingly well to some pretty dramatic life changes.

    I think you need to spend more time patting yourself on the back and less time feeling like you have to explain to the rest of us why you haven’t frenched Hugh Laurie yet.

  3. Can’t you just cross out the months at the top of the list and re-name them July through December? That’s what I would do.

  4. Hee! That is an excellent idea, Teri.

    And thanks, you guys. I was mostly being facetious, rather than really hard on myself. But I appreciate it.

  5. I may have a solution for you! For the glorious sum of $49.50, QVC will CUSTOM MAKE a pair of jeans for you. I found the information courtesy of an apple-shaped lady who had never found jeans that fit, and decided to give the QVC jeans a shot, and recommended them highly over at Fatshionista. Something for an hourglass to think about!


  6. Geez, dude, I just wanted more funny sidebar goals for my own entertainment!

    Seriously, though, your progress, the changes (mental and physical), the whole damn journey…it’s incredible. You’re incredible. Your writing slays me on a daily basis, and what you’ve undertaken, and accomplished…Hugh Laurie can go pound sand, man. YOU ROCK.

    Also, the pants thing…that’s hardly YOUR failure. Obviously, the pants are at fault, there.

    Oh, and thanks for the kick…I was just about to revive mightymighty. Seriously!

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