August 17, 2004

It may seem odd, what I am going to say next (in light of some previous posts). The question was raised in a "real" life debate which drifted into the necessity to human beings of goals - and I, uniquely and truthfully, said that I had none. No one questioned me further on this. I don't think anyone really believed me.

I don't know when it was I stopped setting goals. Deadlines - oh yes, I know those (one hangs heavily over my head as I speak), and tasks to be done, and schedules to be held to, and invoices to be paid. Perhaps it was when I finally realised that, of all the many goals and structured methods of reaching those goals I had set, growing up: every last one of them had been completely and utterly inverted by events I could not possibly have foreseen - and that, on average, every 2-3 years.

But - for some time now it has no longer been a matter of aiming to do a thing, so much as doing what is needed, being where it is needed. Plan ahead, I understand and do more than some and less than most, by way of structuring toward something I wish to do (managing editor of a monthly PubMed journal, I learned such structuring under fire): but events so readily have altered structure and intended end around me that, at some point, I stopped forcing a desired end and just focused on the here-and-now while keeping a sense of an over-reaching, dynamic superstructure within which the goal in every relevant detail was never a constant in any case.

Occasionally I try to catch a bus, and see it departing before I can reach the station. It seems such a small thing, but it can be in small things that our attitudes toward the world show most distinctly, for in the large things the clarity can be swept away.

Goal-oriented: I think something such as this would matter, maybe extremely - but to me - no longer.

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