A few years ago, while on an airplane, I traced out a year-long calendar full of personal, relationship, financial and physical goals for myself. The previous year had felt stagnant to me — it was the first year of our struggle with infertility, and facing down another long childless year, I was afraid that if I didn’t have any goals, that I would simply spend another year feeling miserable. Looking back now, I can’t remember much of that year, but I do remember that I liked looking back at that written list of goals. It was a tangible challenge to myself: I am going to make this year matter, dammit.
This year, I feel no such need to goal set. In fact, 2019 is going to have a whole lot of milestones, whether I choose to chart them on a goal-list or not. It will be the year that my first novel is published. It will be our 9th wedding anniversary. It will see ups and downs of parenting as we enter the toddler stage with Sam.
This upcoming year will certainly have its dark moments, too. I cannot predict my own path. I cannot foresee the topography of tragedy, nor do I wish to. It is better to imagine a road ahead that will have ups and downs rather than to know, exactly when and how deep those hills and valleys could run. I’d rather watch the road ahead than be staring at a GPS.
Of course I believe that change is possible. I can change my habits, my attitude, my eating patterns, my level of physical activity. You can change how much you weigh, how you spend your time, how you dress, how you travel, how you spend your money. You can do all of those things — and believe me, many of those changes would do me good. But in the end, no matter how much I focus on changing how I am, I can’t change who I am.
Who I am is a writer.
Who I am is a mother.
Who I am is a wife.
Who I am is a child of God.
This year, I want to embrace the who instead of focusing so much on the how.