It’s the time of year when we start to air out the house and deep clean in preparation for a new season. It’s also a great time to look at where your life is going. Is there anything that needs to be aired out or let go? It’s time to spring clean your goals.
It’s normal to change
Our goals and plans don’t need to stay the same over the course of our whole lives. That would be boring, and it would mean that we haven’t grown.
Through living our lives, we learn what we love, what we don’t love. We move to new areas, we meet new people, we have new experiences that shape our lives. And perhaps because of that, we may realize that we’re no longer on the right path. What we always wanted may not be what we now want. And that’s OK.
Maybe you’ve found that the career you always wanted is not as fulfilling as you thought it would be. Or maybe some unexpected event happened to change your course, like a baby or a divorce. Or maybe you’ve grown up and don’t have the same tastes that you used to have.
All of these things are perfectly normal. If we didn’t change our minds, we would never change our lives. We would never grow into the people we are supposed to become.
The good news is that you have the ability to choose. Your purpose in life, your direction, is entirely up to you.
I find often that people start out with goals that were handed to them by their parents, or teachers, or their church, or their group of friends. But as we gain more experience in life, we realize those goals were not our goals. They were what other people thought would be good for us. Only you can decide that for yourself.
You have the right to change your mind
I remember when I was a freshman in high school, my friends and I all wanted to become hair dressers and start a salon together. But by the time I reached my sophomore year, I had changed. I wanted to go to college and have a writing career. This didn’t make my friends very happy. But it was my life, and I chose to move on to something that suited me better.
That wasn’t my last stop on my journey to finding me.
When I was in my twenties I moved to New York City to study acting. I went to a very serious acting school, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
All I could think of was acting. When I finished school I joined a theatre company and was in lots of plays and worked behind the scenes also as a stage manager. I co-wrote a play with a friend and won a playwriting contest in Paris, France. My whole life was about the theatre.
In my thirties I moved to California to pursue a film career. But then I got sidetracked and took a job at an Internet company. I ended up working in the editorial department as a journalist and eventually the Managing Editor. My goals had changed over time. I was enjoying my new career in publishing and didn’t look back. In a roundabout way I had actually gone back to my first love of writing.
I’m not saying I don’t still get pangs when I watch the Oscars or think about how I’d play a scene when I read a book. Acting will always be in my body and soul. But I have no desire to audition or starve myself to fit someone’s ideal of an actress. Now that I’m older the available parts are few and far between.
I don’t regret all that I learned and the incredible experiences I’ve had. I never thought I would be brave enough to sing in front of people or play a scene in my underwear in front of a large crowd. I did scary things that stretched my comfort zone. I had a wonderful time, and I’ve grown in ways that I didn’t even know existed. I met so many interesting people. I read and saw many beautiful plays. I will always love theatre. But I’ve moved on personally.
I’ll always have those skills and will use them in other areas of my life. Namely, the ability to dissect a scene and make sense out of written material, the ability to speak with authority in accent-free English, the ability to get up in front of hundreds of people and be seen and heard.
Time changes everything
I want you to know that it’s perfectly normal for your goals to evolve over time. You don’t have to hold on to your old dreams. You can hold a special place in your heart for them. You can take what you’ve learned and repurpose it. But you don’t have to pursue those goals anymore if they no longer serve you. It’s OK to make room in your life for new adventures.
We grow. We change. We are free to move on.
Perhaps it’s time to spring clean your goals. Maybe you want to dust off your original plans and go back to them. Or maybe you want to try something completely new.
Let me hear from you. Are there old dreams and goals that you’ve decided to put aside for a new life? Did it make you feel free or did you feel regret? Share your experiences in the comments section. How are you going to spring clean your goals?