When the new year hit, I set some personal goals that I wanted to complete in 2016. I used to view resolutions as a promise to not do something, but in my case, I was trying to get myself to do something. Technically a resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something, so I guess goals and resolutions can be synonyms in this sense? Whatever.
Some of the goals were around money management and health goals. But others were around education. There are things that I wrote down that I thought would be interesting to learn and to just know more about.
It was sometime in January while I was watching tv when it kind of hit me that I should be more wisely spending my time. I know…it’s an awkward sentence. But in 2016, I’m trying to stay away from ending sentences with adverbs. I’m hoping that last sentence doesn’t count because I used the word “adverb” instead of an actual adverb? Anyway, I was thinking that I could have made better use of my time rather than just watching Fool’s Gold for like the 4th time on TBS. I’m pretty sure I’m not contributing to Kate Hudson’s revenue stream with that view, or contributing to anything for that matter.
Then I thought about what it meant to “better myself.” Why did I set goals for myself to learn something new? I think we’re always learning, but the further we get into our lives, the more we learn through experiences. Sure we’ll learn the occasional skill every now and then. But we’re not necessarily actively trying to learn something new. It’s just kind of happening, and if we don’t apply what we’ve learned, things typically get harder for us.
But the question I asked myself was: Why does it matter? WHAT IS THE PURPOSE? I have no test to pass. I don’t have to earn any more degrees. Everything in my life leading up to the point has been in an effort to hit a major life goal. All of my learning was goal-based. There was a tangible reward that could ultimately give me a better chance in “succeeding” in life. The more I learned, the better chance I had at getting into a good college, which I thought translated into a better education, which I thought translated into a better job. But now that all of that is done, the goal is not as tangible. I’m just doing it because I want to, not because I have to. And when I’m doing it just because I “want to,” I have to ask myself what I’m going to do with that knowledge. The benefit is harder to measure and the effort is harder to justify.
Now I’m stuck at a crossroad. I’m not the type of person that just gets curious about something and dives right in. I’ll assess how much information there is to learn vs how easy is it to do that and I’ll either fully commit or just kind of stay on the first initial page of Wikipedia. I admire my friends who have that skill. Their inquisition is so strong that every study is worth their time. The crossroad that I’m at is pushing myself to learn new things and follow through with those goals, or to just kind of indulge in self-gratification. Basically, I want to just sit here and watch Matty McCons without his shirt on because it’s easy and that’s what is relaxing. Is my goal in life to just be happy and content, or to push myself and squeeze every bit of life that I can? Maybe the latter will result in the former, but not without a little more effort.
I know what it’s like to do nothing and feel fulfilled. I guess what I don’t know is what it’s like to push myself and receive that same fulfillment because I WANT to. So I guess that’s what I’ll work on in 2016.
Thanks for reading.
– Matty Acting Foolishly