Sunday, February 13, 2011

Goals and Gravity

It’s a balmy 56 degrees and sunny here so I went on a long bike ride and freed up some mental hard drive space to think about the future. I don’t know about you, but my long-term goals can be easily derailed due to the erosion of day-to-day living if I don’t pay attention. The gravitational pull of the present seems stronger than that of the future.

Here’s my dilemma: I’ve decided to chase tenure which requires an enormous life commitment. I’ve also decided to start making a dent in that to-do travel list that has been neglected long enough in deference to all the other to-do lists.

What to do with 2 priorities? And isn’t that a contradiction in terms since a priority is, by definition, singular? What’s more important – to continue building the foundation for a comfortable and secure retirement or living a balanced life (which, for me, includes road trips?).  I am greedy, I want it all.  I’m hedging my bets with this plan. And yes, I know what John Lennon would say. 

If all goes perfectly, I’ll be through with school 12/11 (see countdown clock) Big IF. To say I’m ready to finish and move on is a cheap understatement.  It should go something like this:

  • Finish coursework May 2011
  • Collect data June 2011
  • Finish dissertation July 2011
  • Defend dissertation August 2011
  • Graduate December 2011
  • Buy the RV Fall 2011
  • Job interviews Fall 2011
  • Travel Winter 2012
  • Begin work April 2012

Now ..... here’s the hard part ….   

Finding the time to travel other than during our meager breaks in the class schedule. I've blogged about this before i.e. my ambivalence about taking on an all-consuming academic role in my 50’s when I should be slowing down a bit professionally. I DON’T want to be one of those people who sells her RV because it's deteriorating in the driveway.

How I envy those of you who are already retired or soon-to-be!

Okay!  I feel better now I’ve set my plans down on virtual paper so I can refer to it and stay on track.

Thanks for listening!


  1. I have nothing to offer you, but hope. Schedules and plans scare me. I plan on never having a schedule or much of a plan, ever again!

    Thanks for visiting Stumpy's blog!

    Happy trails, forever!

  2. I still believe the first step to success is to have a plan. It can change, but without a destination you will wander aimlessly and never get anywhere. If the dates get push out a bit, so be it. Just go for it!

  3. I say you've gotta have a plan. It if works out you'll be happy. If not, make a new plan.

    Your plan looks great to me. Your career path is super, especially at your age. Don't give that up because you'll always have it, and what an Accomplishment - with a capital A. The RV will be there every time you need a break, even if only a short one.

    So, I think your plan with two priorities is perfect. :)

  4. "I don’t know about you, but my long-term goals can be easily derailed due to the erosion of day-to-day living if I don’t pay attention. The gravitational pull of the present seems stronger than that of the future."

    That sure hits the nail on the head !! And suddenly one day you wake up and you are 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 years old !! And you ask yourself where did those years go ??

    Live in TODAY and focus on what you really want to do is my motto now. Take a leap of faith. It has been so beaten into our heads to 'plan for the future'; make sure our 'retirement' years are secure. What if we don't make it to those years ?? Just sayin'.....

    As long as you do what you love, not what you think you 'should' do, you'll be fine.


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