It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on my goals this year–but mostly that’s because I’ve been keeping to them well and I haven’t had much to write about. Now that I’ve achieved a few of them and the summer is about to start, it seems fitting to look at them once more.
Last night a speaker came to campus to talk about bullying. She said a few words–I probably could’ve counted how many–and then she started asking questions. And when we didn’t willingly answer, she stood in silence waiting. And if we still didn’t answer (this only happened once), she walked up to someone and asked him directly.
This wasn’t a typical lecture. It went both ways.
And that got me thinking: bullying goes both ways, too.
Last night I did what I haven’t done in a while: I prayed.
I have mixed feelings on what we should pray for, how we should pray for them, and even if prayer’s always necessary, but I couldn’t sleep and the words I needed just seemed to be there. I began thinking of all the people in my life right now who are struggling with sickness whether physically or mentally or emotionally, and all I could ask was for God to share his light with them, to give them what they need to heal and recover.
But my words didn’t stop there. Give them your light, I said, so they can become themselves. Not who they are today–unsatisfied with life, burdened by illness, just getting by–but the people they want to become. Because there is nothing more beautiful than watching a person achieve their potential, watching them grow into the unique and unparalleled person only they can become. And I realized, as I said these words, how much I yearn to witness this transformation in everything I do: When I lead on campus, when I tutor, when I make goals for myself.
Especially, perhaps, when I make goals for myself because when I can continually grow and learn and evolve, the light that shines from this personal transformation will always be alive–and the honesty with which I hope to see it in others will always survive. I strive to grow so I will always remember that others can grow, too.
So we’re about a month in, and what a month has it been–for better or worse, worse or better, and I think I’ve made a lot of progress (and a lot of regression) with where I want to be this year. If you recall, I went through some special efforts this year to make my goals SMART–that is, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. In most cases, I succeeded in doing this, but as you’ll see, in some spots I missed the mark.
Back when the year began I set out upon journey that I soon departed from. I envisioned a better future for myself and drafted a series of goals–but somewhere between then and now I wandered astray and haven’t been able to make much progress on the goals I set out to achieve.
I’ve run into a number of challenges since then, both internal and external, but I’m back in a sound mind again and I’m waiting to play this symphony to completion. Today is target practice for me–a time to shoot some arrows and see where they land. More than half the year remains, and I can step back upon the path I want to follow.
All I have to do is see where I stand today and make sure I’m looking in the right direction to keep moving forward.
I finally retired last night sometime between three and four. I fell fast into sleep, into a world of vague and empty dreams, a world free from all the distress and anxiety that has overwhelmed me during the day and deep into the night. When my alarm went off this morning, I wearily opened my eyes, turned it off, and sent a text to my mom to leave a half-hour later than planned. I needed the extra sleep.
It took me four trips to bring everything downstairs and about four more to load the car. As I got inside, I found my anxiousness had mostly dissipated–but the day was still beginning.
Today marks a special anniversary more so than just the start of another year: It’s also the third birthday of this blog–and as I sat drafting my goals for 2013, I found my blogging featured prominently. However, this is not the only birthday I’d like to celebrate today: I’d like to celebrate mine, and yours, and everyone’s.
When the year begins anew, so do we–and with this ethereal rebirth, we are able to do away with our old selves and promise to move a step closer toward the ideal we’ve always aspired to become. This heavenly image will certainly change over the years (and certainly already has), and as we draw closer to its general shape the edges become clearer and there is always one more step between us, but the impossible attainability of this end is not what matters–only making progress defines us in the end.
As this new year begins, I invite you to join me as I try to take the next step to becoming my ideal being. May we become each other’s witnesses on this journey, holding us each to our goals, and in this time, may we also become greater friends.
And then they had drinks and celebrated the fact that finals were over. (Seriously, I tried coming up with a better punchline, but I couldn’t make it funny, so I thought I’d opt for absurd and asinine instead.)
But honestly, finals are over, and believe it or not, I almost didn’t know what to do when I got out of class. I lingered, albeit unintentionally at first, with some classmates and we discussed our exam, but then I was on my own–and I really had no idea what to do with myself.
So I did what anyone else would do: I did nothing.
When last we spoke of the Rabbis, our lesson dealt with studying while strolling and we were able to apply the lesson in three wildly different applications–to teach us to focus, to teach us to rest, and to teach us that distracted walking is a real danger in the modern world. This teaching also focuses on studying, but its implications can be far greater–and far more severe.
Today’s my first official day on campus. Yes, I checked in on Tuesday. Yes, I moved my things in on Friday. And, yes, today is actually my first day on campus. I decided I’d start easily enough: unpacking, hanging my art, and going to a couple events on campus to get acquainted.
Somewhere along the line, I think I melted.
The day begins and I’m half-asleep and the half that’s awake would really like to roll over again and just go back to sleep. In the afternoon my feet ache and my throat’s sore from saying the same thing over and over again to a hundred different people–I could do this with my eyes closed, I tell them, and it’s true–and my eyes drift toward my closed iPad, longing for its internal delights–or that it might morph into a pillow for a quick nap.
It’s a little hard to see why these are related.
But once the connection is made, it’s amazing.