It’s a hot smoky type of day, when even the pool seems not cool enough. The tires on the car grip the road more than one would want, and everything feels just two minutes of exposure away from imitating a Salvador Dali painting. This week I turn 52 and I looked back at my list of things to do from when I turned 51. I didn’t make a list. I thought, “Well no wonder nothing got done like I planned for this year … I didn’t plan at all. Well, I did, but not on July 3.”
In the interest of helping me keep tabs from year to year, I decided to make my list of goals for the next year of my life part of this week’s Small Success Thursday. I’d read a piece over at Aleteia, Three Questions Everyone is Dying to be Asked. and decided to use them to frame my own goal setting.
Who are you? I’m Sherry Antonetti. Catholic, wife, mother, daughter, friend, writer, teacher, and over-extended volunteer. Why am I who I am? Because more than anything else, I want to be liked. It’s funny, but when I get attention, I don’t like it, but when I don’t have it, I crave it. So I’m never quite comfortable, either leading or following. I want to both tell and be laughing at the jokes. I want to write and be the one sharing the really great story I just read. I’m generally almost late, but you know I’ll come. You know I’ll work. You know I’ll stay until it’s done. More than anything, I try (don’t always succeed to be sure) to be kind, to figure out the why of any behavior, any words, any actions, even the ones I don’t agree with. I’m also a disorganized frenetic cleaner, writer, parent, reader … you name it … lots of enthusiasm, not always a lot of planning.
Who are your friends? My husband and my mom hear almost everything almost every day. I should cultivate and grow my relationships with my siblings. Several colleagues at work and at the school where my kids work, I’ve known for years, and can’t imagine not having in my life. Online, fellow writers, a few from high school, and a few from college share stories, puns, and the occasional prayer request with me. I always wish I had more time, but I never quite seem to, not with any of them. I look at the list, and know in every instance, while I love all these people, I don’t quite give them the time they deserve. That knowledge makes me ache, because I don’t know how to find more time, when all the people at home also need all the time, and seem very capable of taking all of it.
Where are you going? This question is perhaps the scariest. At fifty-two, I need to lose weight, save money, work more, write more, and still manage all the schedules of all the people here. Where am I going? In multiple directions, maybe too many, all at once. Before, I felt fearless, I did because it never occurred to me not to, or that I couldn’t. Why not? March on. Not sure if it’s experience, wisdom, age, caution, exhaustion or sloth that’s making me feel less capable. I used to know. I wanted to have three published books, a regular column, get a Ph.D., and teach. I also wanted to learn Spanish or French, play the guitar, lose 30 pounds, and somehow raise ten people to be educated, faithful Catholics who would go out and fill the world with color and music and sweetness, light, kindness, art, words, and deeds. I wanted to do that too. Yes, I still want all of that, though I’m not sure how to tackle any of it, because it all feels overwhelming. I know whatever I’ve done up to now, it remains insufficient.
Rereading what I’d written, I remembered why I love writing. It lets me wander down every rabbit hole until I get to the real reality of it all. As usual, I’m trying to do too much, spreading myself miles wide and inches deep, whether in friendships or goal setting. It’s a form of gluttony, acquiring friendships I do not cultivate, planting too many seeds in a garden, setting more goals than I can possibly accomplish, and somehow not getting why I’m tired or feel overworked. “I must decrease.” I thought about it in terms of weight, goals, and obsessive desires to be liked. Ouch.
So I went back to all three points: I figured, set three goals, one physical, one mental, one spiritual.
So I opted for 20 pounds in a year (from July 3 to July 3), publishing one book, and working on those friendships, in real life and online by inviting and accepting invitations, phoning, and listening. (This will include not spending all of Adoration with my laundry list). I’ll keep writing it on my calendar so I stay focused. Happy Birthday to me and I hope this week is filled with many happy Small Successes for you.
What small successes are you celebrating this week?
Copyright 2018 Sherry Antonetti