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Pat Dryburgh

Goals are funny things.

On one hand, a goal is an incredibly helpful tool to give your actions, behaviours, and thoughts direction, thereby giving your life purpose. Reaching a goal is an incredibly uplifting experience, both when the goal is met with praise from your peers, and even when all you have is the silent, personal knowledge that you’ve completed something you’ve set out to do.

On the other hand, goals can take you, taunt you, kick the crap out of you when you are down and realize you haven’t met the goal you’ve set out to accomplish, and spit in your face when that realization is made public.

I’ve set goals for myself in the past. Some I have kept to myself, others I’ve shared either with close personal friends or even through a blog or other public means. I’ve talked before about my goal to lose weight (a goal I realized this week I need to reengage in my life), paying off my personal debt, and attempting a few new things. Not every goal is met, not every goal is as fleshed out as the others in my head.

A couple of months ago, I brought my bike to work in my car. The plan was to attempt to ride home afterwards (about 20 km), to see whether it was a viable way of getting to work in the morning.

As I set out, a couple of obstacles got in my way. First, I didn’t quite dress for the occasion. I was wearing jeans, and had a pair of shorts in my bag. Neither were quite suited for the long, windy ride that night. Second, a need to first head to a mall in the North end of London, only 7 km away from work, however going to the mall added an additional 7 km, making the whole trip about 34 km.

I didn’t make it home. I ended up about 9 km from home, at just after ten o’clock at night, with no lights on my bike and no lights on the street.

I was done.

I called up my dad, and he came to take my battered and sore body and bike home. I felt this odd sensation of pride that I’d come so far, yet discouraged that I didn’t finish what I had set out to do. Needless to say, I didn’t try it again.

In a lot of ways, this episode represents how a lot of things in my life have gone up until now. I set out to accomplish something great, get a good start on it and, in some cases, almost get to the finish, and then come up short. It has happened with college, music, weight loss, projects I’ve set out to do, skills I’ve set out to learn, relationships.

I’m the king of coming up short.

Yet, I paid off my debt. A big, audacious goal that I didn’t think I could accomplish, but with the help and encouragement of loved ones and a bit of self discipline was able to pay it all down, with money in the bank and a better outlook for my finances in the future.

All of this to say, I guess I’m sort of reevaluating where to go next. What goals in my past have I given up on prematurely, that with a little bit of gumption and get-go could be accomplished? What do I want my life to look like in a year? Two years? Five years? Ten years?

I’m gonna take some time over the next couple of weeks to map out some goals I think I can accomplish, and share that process here. It could be sloppy, messy. I may not do things the way others would. But, and maybe I’m wrong here, I personally believe that our personal experience is heightened when we are able to share our experiences with others.

Goal No 1: live a life of adventure, something worth sharing with those who care to read.

On to the adventure.

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