Approaching Halftime

Sorry to be selfish today, but I need to write this post for me. Why? Because this post is all about preparing me for an event I have dreaded for the last 10 years. It’s about assessing where I am and where I want to be. This post involves me documenting the process by which I have come to realize that I am aging and can’t do a thing about it.

As The 11th Anniversary of my 29th Birthday now lies just a week away (no, I still can’t say that number), taking a post to publicly assess some aspects of my life seems not only appropriate but necessary in my preparation for halftime (meaning, the mid-point of my life on earth).

Setting Goals

Just under a year ago, I decided to set some goals to reach by my, um, next birthday. My 40 by 40 Bucket List resulted from this decision. Actually, setting these goals (or at least publicly declaring them) got me started blogging, but my main reason was to find a way to come to terms with my inevitable aging.

Some goals were reached fully and some partially. Injury prevented others from being completed. Others, I lost interest in very quickly, which tells me I probably set some wrong goals. In some ways, my motives were wrong for some of my goals.

In considering why I reached some goals and why others were missed, several life lessons have surfaced for me. Lessons I believe that are helping me to age gracefully.

  1. We don’t always have control over whether or not we reach a goal.
  2. Some goals are just not right for us right now.
  3. Goals are tools for character development even if they aren’t reached.
  4. Motives play a big role in motivation for reaching goals.
  5. You’re not a failure if you don’t reach a goal.

Making Adjustments

With these lessons learned, I have one major adjustment in my goal setting.  Instead of setting another round of goals for the next monumental birthday (don’t even try to get me to say that number), I instead simply put all my goals into one Lifetime Bucket List. I think part of my mistake before was forcing myself to set a certain number of goals instead of setting the goals that were right for me regardless of how many there were.

There is a lot of advice available on goal setting. Honestly, it all overwhelms me. So, I focus on the bare minimum, what some call the SMART way to set goals. Even with this guideline, I realize that I would not get great marks from a goal-setting guru. But, I am learning what works for me and moving forward in that.

Honestly, I hate the idea of being too structured with my goal setting. I feel too confined and fear limiting the Holy Spirit’s directing in my life. But I am also aware of God’s indicating a need for balance in this area.

Proverbs 6:6-11 clearly indicates that we need to work and not be lazy with our lives and that we must make certain plans for this to happen. On the other hand, James 4:13-14 clearly shows that our lives can change from day to day and so too must our plans.

In making adjustments with my personal goals, my intent lies with creating a balance between making motivational plans and allowing for inevitable change.

Final Thoughts

As I enter my last week with an age I think still sounds young, I feel good to at least have some goals established even if I know many will change and some not come to fruition at all. Goal setting has provided, for me, a way to assess what I’ve done and map out what I want to do. It has helped me write the story of my life.

Shopenhoaur said best the sentiment I am trying to portray here:

“The first forty years of life give us the text; the next forty supply the commentary.”

I am ready to start writing the commentary on the text of my life.

DISCUSSION: Any advice for someone entering a new stage of life? (PLEASE don’t say, “Age is just a number.” I hate that.) Does my experience and struggle with goal setting resonate with anyone?

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13 thoughts on “Approaching Halftime

  1. Kari,
    Good lessons on goals. Plans are what move goals from dreams to reality. Without goals you are just letting whatever happens happen. Setting goals and working on them is actively taking charge of your life.

    • I love that my dreams and goals are being defined more and more by God instead of by me. The verse about man planning his steps but the Lord directing his steps sure has started to really play out in my life. Excites me.

  2. I understand how you feel Kari, I have blown past both of the milestones you mention and I feel the need to rail against the ravages of time from time to time. It is part of the curse. . I do believe there are some things you can and should do to fight against those ravages. Don’t go down without a fight. With the exception of a back injury that likes to plague me from time to time I am in the best shape of my life after actively pursuing some workout goals the last three years. I weight less now than I did in college and I am much more muscular. I do not think the goal as we age is necessary to live longer but to live better. I hope to continue working on these type of goals. I think mentally I want to continue to pursue learning and actively read to do so. I think aging helps me understand that we need to live in the now. That now is the time to make plans and execute them. Now is the time to let those you love know it. Now is the time to do that which you think God would have you do. We are not promised much in terms of a future here on earth so the need to make the most of today comes sharper into focus.

    What is age? Time marks change… if nothing changed we would not know time moved.

    What has gone before are memories… what is ahead are dreams… we live in the now… make the most of now by…..gratitude for where you are at in life; for the ability to have dreams and goals; for knowing the creator of time and relying on him to help you where you are at.

    Keep setting those goals Kari and keep striving for them. Leave a legacy of doing that which you are passionate about. Have goals you never finish. Plan like you are going to live forever and live like you are going to die next month.

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement! I definitely don't plan to go down without a fight. I like how you said that living better is the goal, not living longer. That's where I need to focus more. Also, I need to rethink how I approach being in shape and being healthy too. There are so many different ways, and I need to get over thinking that my way has to look like anyone else's. Definitely something that's unique. Making the most of today really gets at why I started this blog, to "make the most of every opportunity." I am sad when I see people letting so much of life go by them, and they sit stuck in ruts. Life is not to be lived in a rut. I'm certain of that. Mark, the idea of having goals that I never finish really hit something within me. I read once that even the day we die, our in-boxes will never be empty. There's always something more to do. Having ambitions still on my list when I die certainly will show that I didn't go down without a fight. So, once again, your comment could be an entirely new post! So appreciate that about you.

  3. I was really dreading turning 30. In my college years and 20's, I had all these goals I would achieve by 30. Business landmarks, financial success, etc. Amazingly, I was blessed in many of those areas – but there were ones where I fell short and it bugged me. But right before my 30th birthday, God gave me a new vision for my life – and for some reason, that made my 30th birthday seem like no big deal.

    • Your testimony about God giving you a new vision for your life really struck a chord within me. In fact, I believe that is going to happen to me sometime between now and the end of day on Friday. It's one of those things that I just knew… I'm so glad you said that! There's a part of me that's somewhat looking forward to my birthday.

  4. Oh Kari, life just keeps getting better! Don't worry about the number, yes, I know you hate that, but it is true. At 40 I was recovering from a divorce and bad marriage, had a teen daughter, a new companion, and was so lost! Then I learned I could do more than I ever imagined! God sent me back to college at 46, with only 17 credits to my name. became a licensed lay pastor for 10 years. My second husband died and I am now retired and remarried and enjoying traveling in the semi and writing. So girl, 40 is just a baby! None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, so enjoy the gift of this day and celebrate the gift of life, the joy of family, the successess you have achieved. I never thought about a bucket list, have you watched that movie? Then this past year as things began to happen so unexpectedly I realized I did have some dreams and goals and without my even realizing it God was allowing them to unfold. You are a joy! I am blessed to have your blog in my life. Happy Birthday. it doesnt happen to be on the 26th does it. That was my mom's…today is my sisters.

    • So many people are telling me that life just keeps getting better, and really that has been true in my own life already. The ideas of enjoying today and living in the now are ones that keep coming up too, and I even wrote a post a while back about living in the now. Yes, I have watched The Bucket List. I actually own it. Thank you for the encouragement! My birthday is the 24th.

  5. I think 30 was harder for me than 40. No, I don't think. I know. 30 was so hard emotionally it didn't hit me until I was 31. Since 31, birthdays have been a breeze. I just read the opening chapter of Deb MacComber's "God's Guest List" yesterday. She said she wrote out a list of 30 people she wanted to meet and she did meet them. Many were major disappointments. Then she felt God prompt her to create another "30 People to Meet" list. This time she would leave the lines blank and allow God to fill them in. I think that might be good advice for goals as well. Good bless and happy birthday a few days early.

    • Been thinking about this approach to goal setting. It' kind of gets at what I've discovered with many of my goals turning out to be ones that really are not a fit for my life, and I think it's because I failed to let Him "direct my path." Will spend some time in prayer on this for sure. I feel like between this and what Loren said about God giving me a new vision for my life that this is going to be an amazing week, year and decade. Still don't like turning 40 (there, I said it), but I am feeling a spark of something else finally stirring within me. Everyone's comments being so encouraging have started this spark. I feel blessed.

  6. Pingback: How to… Age Gracefully | Struggle to Victory

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