Wednesday, November 20, 2013

21 Days of Gratitude: Day 5 {Setting Goals and Letting Go}

I've never been much of a goal setter.

(Upon reading the previous sentence, my mother will promptly be doubled over with laughter and shouting "Now THAT'S an understatement!")

But no one asked her.

As an undergrad, when well-meaning people what I planned to do after college, my answer was generally along the lines of "I want to live in New York and work for a magazine." (I say "generally" because I tend to err on the side of non-committal.)

And sure enough, I packed my bags and headed for the Big Apple Days after finishing my last class. I had a primo internship at Seventeen waiting for me, which I was sure would turn into a full time position faster than you can say "Was that Nina Garcia on the elevator with me?". (But seriously. I saw the back of her head once. From two stories up.)

Unfortunately, that was 2009, when a teeny-tiny hiccup called the recession happened. Heard of it?

Yeah. So...not only were magazines not hiring their interns, they were doing everything they could to merely keep their doors opened.

Three years later, when well meaning people asked me what I planned to do after I finished Teach for America, my answer was generally along the lines of "Anything but teaching!" There may have also been a few expletives laced in there.

Yet here I am, still a middle school special education teacher (albeit at a different school and back in Charlotte), and happier than ever.

I understand the need to set goals. We all need to have a destination in mind, even if that destination seems very far away. But maybe setting goals is merely a stepping stone to letting go. Sure, I would have eventually gotten a job at a magazine, but it might have meant years of waitressing and interning that I simply wasn't willing to put in. When I let go of that goal, I was able to get to Charlotte, the first city (and I've lived in plenty) that's ever felt like home.

Of course, Carrie always says it best:

And while I have no idea what I'll be doing in five years, I hope it has something to do with writing and reading and children.

The rest? I'm letting go.


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