Last week was my birthday. As a result, I was thinking about the goals that I’ve made on various birthdays throughout my life. The good news is that despite some setbacks, I’ve managed to accomplish most of my adult goals. The bad news is that the remaining goals are overly reliant on other people. The glaringly obvious example is my desire to see Barry Manilow perform. Oh, how I pursued this goal, researching his Vegas haunts, reconciling myself to the fact Barry only played there on weekends when hotel rates were high, forking over large sums. Yeah, and then he canceled shows and stopped his gig.
But I’m resilient, so when I found out he was coming to Salt Lake last summer, I jumped on it, pre-ordering tickets and securing lodging for the night lest too many encores of Copacabana kept me out late. Walking to the arena, my elation deflated when I found out the concert was now postponed. Fifteen months later the concert is still postponed, with no new date scheduled.
My goal went unmet not because I lacked due diligence, but because I was not in charge. Because my seeing Barry Manilow depends, to extent I didn’t properly appreciate, on BARRY MANILOW. Life lesson learned.
In goals-met news, I finished writing a YA memoir about my experiences growing up, and the manuscript is currently with my editor. As I was looking through my childhood “scrapboxes” while working on this memoir, I found birthday lists not unlike the birthday lists I’ve made in recent years. Goal-setting, it seems, has long been a birthday tradition.
It’s eerie, really. And cyclical. My third grade goals included showering every day, a goal I met by making a calendar on an index card and religiously crossing out the box corresponding to each squeaky-clean morning. Mission accomplished! Thanks for the habit of hygiene, third grade self!
Now, however, I realize that even though I feel like I still shower every day, this is more “truthiness” than actual fact. And my goal at 29, to “gain a working knowledge of very basic technology”? Well, yes. But now, five years later, much of what I learned then is obsolete. It was true once.
Then I came across my set of goals from 1989. The end of a decade. The year to which Taylor Swift pays homage in her forthcoming album 1989 (releasing six days from today, happy belated birthday, Em-Dawg). 1989 was a good year. Not so much for me, but for my goals. This was the year I made goals I could reach, goals dependent on me more than—shudder—other people. I’m pleased to say some of these life ambitions have been reached.
The rest of them? Well, I'm working on it. Because I’ve decided to make my 2014 goals identical to my 1989 goals. Because after 25 years, it’s amazing how much different I’m not.
I’ll be documenting my journey here on this blog, in accordance with one of my goals (ooh, the intrigue! What could a blog have to do with 1989?) So stay tuned! It’s turning out to be a hilarious ride.