Every Christmas our family has gifts that end up in the “pile of disappointment”. One year it was a family wok, pitched as a fun way to cook veggies together…it was met with looks of confusion…a who are you and what have you done with my mother moment. The wok sat waiting while other gifts found their forever homes, it was then moved to the “basement of neglect”, then left us for good, to the “nearly new room” at the rummage sale. It was 100% new…no nearly about it.
This past Christmas I had the brilliant idea that we would each be gifted a goal setting planner…you know a therapist in a book, fix your life in 3 months. We could work on our goals together! Supporting each other while fighting our personal demons. This brilliant idea was met with disdain, some tears, and silence. After a lengthy recovery we decided to give it a shot. We wrote out goals, listed plans of action, and were ready to start our new lives…one never started, two lasted about a week, and one might have made it to a month. If every unused planner on the earth was stacked, would it reach the moon? My guess is yes.
My husband is pretty chill. He shows up for holidays at the same time the guests are arriving. Billing and taxes, happen when they happen. Vacations, he packs 5 minutes before we leave. But certain goals…if he wants it…he will reach it. No. Matter. What. When Greg was little he was one of those kids who loved to learn, and at a very early age he figured out that if he wanted to go to college, he was paying for it. So instead of spending his paper route money on treats, movies, or video games…he saved. With a very tasty scholarship, some student loans, and his paper route money (!), my husband paid for his own college education, including housing and food. Goals.
FaceBook memories are an oversharer’s reward. Swoon.
We have recently been enjoying posts about Greg and his two brothers participating in RAGBRAI…the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Started in 1973 by two Register columnists who were sick of friends saying Iowa is flat (it isn’t), they invited some friends to bike across the state…and a tradition was born. Greg grew up reading The Register every morning with a tall sun tea and a few bowls of Rice Chex, he followed many a RAGBRAI. The time was finally right…he liked to bike, his kids were grown, his brothers were game, he could take the week off, he could see his family, a perfect 50th birthday present to himself…score. Decision made, now he just needed train in order to be able to ride an average of 60 miles a day…for 6 days in a row…in Iowa…in July. Goals.
While he did his daily training, 10-50 miles a pop…I figured out packing and purchases. How to fit 3,562 items into a backpack…challenge on. Teeny tiny first aide kits, a system to dry wet stinky clothes each night, pants with baboon tushie padding, shirts with mysterious pockets and pouches (side note, bicycle clothing is just plain ugly), a sleeping bag that fit into a coin purse, and a postage stamp size towel that could absorb a lake. We were both doing what we do best…him exercising, me shopping.
Waking before the crack of dawn to ride over the Iowan hills as the sun rose, finishing early to recover with homemade pie, fresh Amish ice cream, and a lot of pork products. Traveling through tiny towns, people cheering them on and profiting from the 10,000 people passing through. Showers for sale at private homes, kids offering to walk on his aching back for a buck, makeshift museums (barns) of collected treasures, reconnecting with brothers and connecting with strangers. A final dip of his bike wheel in the Mississippi River, he lived the dream, he reached his goal.
Painful and difficult…goals…maybe that is why reaching them is like nothing else in the world. Maybe that feeling of success is what keeps us buying those planners…I need to find mine.