Tying Happiness to Having a Goal.
Intentions don’t take shape without action.
I seem to function best when I have a project. I’m good at completing tasks if I have any intention to take them on. No matter how complex or boring the project might be, it gets done once I set my mind to do it. Instead of having lofty intentions like being good, kind, sensitive to other people’s needs, loyal, and honest, I have missions to complete.
As a ten-year-old, I loved to clean up dirty things in my family’s apartment, like kitchen cabinet doors. Completing these self-assigned tasks made me feel I had accomplished something. I loved the feeling of completion and still do.
For example, my brother’s move to a nursing home created multiple projects that needed doing. I’m still working on some of them. He had an automobile accident ( body damage only)leading up to his transition. He had the car towed to a place that did nothing with it for three weeks—my concern over his lack of intention to fix this worsened day by day. Finally, I spoke with his insurance company, and they towed the car to a repair shop forty miles from his home.
It was not a great solution, but it was a solution.
He was in the hospital, and the accident had lost its place in his brain. He had a rental car, barely used, at his home, which needed to go back. And, his repaired car required a return to his house. I had no intention of doing this, but I had no choice; there was no one else to take care of this matter. I took it on as my assignment after weeks of all-night worrying about it. My willing daughter and I got his car and returned the rental one.
With the terrific assistance of my daughter and son-in-law, I went through all his papers. It was a tedious job but needed doing. One must submit a massive amount of paperwork to Medicaid to obtain long-term government assistance, including five years of bank statements, 60 of them. Can you believe that the nursing home informed me that three of them from 2017 are missing?
I intended to send the nursing home every month’s bank statement, but I couldn’t send what I couldn’t find. Intentions are unobtainable sometimes, but sometimes they get done.
I intended to move twice in the last five years— and did that!
I intended to write a blog each week — I’m now up to my eighty-third consecutive blog!
I intended to publish the first fifty blogs in a book — and did that, too!
I intend to keep in touch with my family and friends — and do that regularly!
Those are my recent actualized intentions. There were many others throughout my life.
But, what now? Is everything else already over or too late to do next?
There’s a chasm between what’s finished and what’s still to accomplish. As Norman Lear said in today’s NYTimes, the words over and next are not given enough attention. The space between them describes his feelings of living “In the moment.”
My feelings about this space are not so benign. My living in the moment is like waiting for the next shoe to drop. I want it to be sooner rather than later. An empty space is not my intention.
I’m drawing a blank about my next goal. It’s scary. I guess this is what retirement is all about. It’s too late for me to retire to a life of golf, tennis, or pickleball. Maybe I’ll switch to those lofty goals I mentioned earlier. However, they have always been there, underscoring other responsibilities, family ties, friendships, and activities. As a person who has reinvented herself multiple times without hesitation, my next intention is anxiety-ridden because it’s a blur.