‘Old People’ Thoughts

I recently had a birthday.  I haven’t been excited or fearful of my birthdays in the past; however, I was blue for the whole day of my party (2 days before my birthday) and also on my birthday itself.  I told people I was tired, which wasn’t a lie, but that wasn’t the problem either – I was depressed.  It could be because I am the oldest of my current writing group, or the fact that people younger than me are complaining about being old, or just that I’m a father now and my priorities have changed. 

Last night and this morning I’ve been thinking about life goals.  I hate to admit it, but I’m getting old enough to think ‘old people’ thoughts.  So I created a series of questions for myself, based loosely on things I heard in a college class – 15 years ago <sob>.

What are you goals for:
• 1 Year
• 3 Years
• 5 Years
• 10 Years
• 20 Years
• Lifetime

What do I have to do:
• Today to accomplish my 1 and 3 year goals?
• This week to accomplish my 1 and 3 year goals?
• This month to accomplish my 3 and 5 year goals?
• Within six months to accomplish my 5 and 10 year goals?
• This year to accomplish my goals?
• Within three years to accomplish my goals?
• Within 10 years to accomplish my goals?

I have already started answering these questions myself, and I might share at some point, but I wanted to share the questions with you (in case you are tackling the same problems I am).  Feel free to share your thoughts as well.

About R. Garrett Wilson

I am a member of the Stanislaus World Builders writing group and have participated in the FSFW writing group. I have written one drama that was based on the book of Mark and performed at my church in 2007. My story, Journeyer, is published in Analog Magazine and a novelette, The Bakrra Encounter, in the FSFW 2010 anthology, I Dreamed a Crooked Dream. I also took part in the community novel project, Stanislaus Reads and Writes, and have a chapter in their novel, Ashes in a Teardrop. Beyond writing, I enjoy road trips, photography, woodworking, watching tennis and cycling, and reading.
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10 Responses to ‘Old People’ Thoughts

  1. I’ll give a few of my one year goals:
    * Have an agent and editor
    * Have my manuscript published (or a date to be published)
    * Have a short story in an anthology

    Today I need to continue editing my manuscript.

    In the next week I need to:
    * Continue editing manuscript
    * Research more on ‘How to write a killer synopsis’
    * Review critique comments on my short story

    This month I need to:
    * Continue editing manuscript
    * Write and edit my synopsis
    * Research agents
    * Query, query, query
    * Edit short story for anthology

  2. Kids age you. Multiply each of your children’s ages by 1.5 and add that to your own. I’m like 46!

  3. Myrna Foster says:

    LOL! Kids do age you, but I am NOT 66.

    You asked for thoughts. I’ve been setting goals like this for a long time. Does that make me older than you? Something I’ve learned is to set goals that I have control over. For instance, I can’t control whether or not an editor buys my work, but I can control how many hours I put into working on a project or reading books about writing or whatever. There are a lot of factors you can’t control anymore than you can control your age.

    Also, I try to balance my priorities by setting goals in a variety of areas that are important to me. It’s too easy for me to get caught up in my writing goals and neglect other areas (or people) that are equally or even more important. I think this is one of the reasons why so many successful writers end up divorced or committing suicide.

    Kids can age you, or they can bring back your youth. Good luck with yours and your goals.

    • You’re right; I have goals beyond my control. But that doesn’t change the fact that I am aiming for those targets. The “What do I have to do…” or “I need to…” section has the parts that I can control, the daily and weekly tasks to help me work toward my goals. And strangely, I don’t have to make my goals to be a success or miss them to feel like a failure. It is the process of getting there, how I let the little successes and failures affect me and the path I take to the target, which determine how I feel about my journey.

  4. Myrna Foster says:

    That’s a great way to look at it.

  5. roh says:

    Take it from someone who’s been where you’re at – a LONG time ago…it don’t get no better.

    It’s amusing how our childhood and teen year birthdays are so eagerly anticipated. Kids big and small always aspire to be older than they are:

    “I’m nine-and-three-quarters!”

    “I’m almost eighteen.” (even though their 17th birthday was last month)

    I’m not sure when the shift from anticipation to dread occurs. It seems for most there is a period of years where there is neither – birthdays are just something that happens, an excuse for a party.

    But I think it’s around 30 that the first inkling of aging hits. I know I hated the idea of turning 30. But it wasn’t so bad. I still had the looks and energy of my twenties, and ended up shrugging it off.

    40 was worse. And the physical signs of aging began to be visible in the mirror: extra weight, the beginnings of lines on the face, etc.

    50? No getting around the aging thing at 50. 50 year olds are GRANDPARENTS. 50 year olds have grey hairs and definite wrinkles. 50-year-old joints creak and backs ache, and annual doctor visits become mandatory.

    Yup. 50 sucks. And I’m a few years past that.

    So I feel your pain…and then some.

    The only advice I can offer is…enjoy your thirties. Forty is just around the corner.

    :o )

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