10 year evaluation

Posted on 16.11.2009


I didn’t sit down at 18 and say to myself, ‘this is where I want to be in ten years,’ but it appears to have taken me ten years to reach the last goal that I had set for myself. I think that 10 years is a good amount of time to allow oneself to reach goals, but it was never planned that way.

When I was in high school, I had things I wanted to do with my life. I had rules that I set for myself. Rules that I made so long ago (read: ten year) that I forgot I had even made them, and they just became the way that I lived.
A summary of the things I wanted to do with my life when I was 17:
Go to art school
Get a job that is not retail
Sell my art
be happy
get published
read lots of great books
travel (have the means to travel based on the non-retail job)
be self-sufficient
have a set plan for my future
date someone for 5 years before deciding to get married
deal with my personal issues
teach at the college level
… and to live in Germany.
So… done x 13. And some more. A lot of things happened in ways I would not/did not expect them to. I became mostly self sufficient for a really sad reason. I’ve sold my art to friends (and even a few clients and total strangers!). I thought that I would date someone for 5 years and then marry them, not decide that I didn’t really like them as a person or the way they made me feel about myself and then move on. I’ve been happy for reasons I didn’t expect/didn’t think existed. I taught high school teachers how to use CS3, ultimately that is the college level. I spent nearly a year traveling, only going to weddings but definitely making the most of my trips to my friends.
I remember sitting in my office in 2007, looking out the window in the middle of the work day that spring and thinking to myself, ‘there is not a lot left of Baltimore for me to see anymore’. I was not referring to my friends and the people that I love in the city, the thought was more about the idea that at that point I felt I wasn’t going to grow anymore in my life’s work. I thought to myself, ‘I’d really like to figure out a way to live in Germany. Or anywhere. Somewhere new.’ My Chicago trip came right after that and I decided to go there. Then I met René and decided that Chicago could wait. It’s interesting what happens when you ask the universe to show you the way. I wouldn’t have moved to another state for just anyone. I actually refused quite a few times. René is worth far more than just a simple move across the ocean. I love him more than I’ve ever known how to love before. More than I could have imagined ever coming from me.
Things don’t always turn out as you expect them to, but the things that happen are absolutely meant to happen, even if all they do is to help you grow or to see things from the other side.
I never said ‘in 10 years I expect to have accomplished all of this’, but subconsciously I made it happen. As Andy says, it was my future self helping my present self to plan ahead. It’s amazing the things that you do that set your life up for what will come later. Little things that don’t seem so important at the time. Like booking plane tickets to a seminar in a place you’re not even sure you want to go to.
26 and 27 were amazing years for me. Actually, everything since 24 has been pretty mind-blowing, but I would not have expected each to be better than the last. They have been. I have a sneaking suspicion that 28 will be even better than the ones before, in ways I can’t begin to imagine.
So for now, it’s time for me to set some new goals (or at least, things I want to do with my life). I’ve got a pretty lofty list, but assuming I keep doing what I was, everything will be done in the order it’s meant to be.
On the list:
Learn Japanese
Go to Japan
Travel more
Get my MFA
Teach Art History or Theory at the college level
Be published some more
continue training in the JNK (preferably make some progress;)
be happy
The point is: don’t chase perfect. Do what makes you happy, and step away the things that don’t. They are holding you back form being your truest self. We are all here to live our own lives.
xo, g.
Posted in: life