Today is Thursday, so that means it’s time for a writing prompt. This week, I will be listing and explaining five short-term (within next five to ten years) goals. This whole writing prompt thing is new to me, but I now have a greater appreciation of how my students feel each day when I give them a prompt to write about. It’s tough, and I honestly haven’t done it since high school. It feels good, though, and I am happy to stretch my writing into new limits.
1. Find a job I excel at. Don’t get me wrong—I am thankful to have a job, especially in this economy. And it took a LOT of work to get. I filled out over 65 applications and went on nine interviews before I finally landed this teaching position that I worked so hard for. There ARE several things I like about it, such as my co-workers. They are great! I especially love my 6th Grade Team; we all get along really well and work beautifully together. There are some STELLAR kids who I just adore. And there are some piece of work kids that I also adore just the same. But the 50-minute commute to work each way is tiring. Plus, I spend way too much money on gas. And these kids don’t care about learning. I know it’s MY job to make them care, to fill their little hearts with the excitement of learning… but it’s a tougher job than I thought it’d be. If I can keep going, I definitely will. I always wanted to work in a low-income school with at-risk kids. I just never thought about WHY these kids were at-risk. Now I know it’s because of their home lives. They don’t get the support they need to succeed at school, and it’s such a shame. These are bright little guys and gals, and it seems like such a waste for them to not have a cheerleader at home, getting them through school so they can succeed in life. For now, I will be that cheerleader, but later down the road I am looking forward to working in a NORMAL school with NORMAL students (and parents). It’s stressful. My only worry about the future of this goal is wondering how on earth I’m ever going to find a stable teaching job when we are moving every three years or so. It’s going to be tough, but I am sure that I will be satisfied somehow.
2. Have the perfect wedding. I know I complain about having to wait so long to marry Dan. It’s not the ideal situation being together for five years before we can finally tie the knot or being engaged for nearly three. But I know the wait will be worth it. The wait means that we get to know each other even more during this time. The wait ALSO means that we have PLENTY of time to make every decision we want and not have to rush through any of the processes. It helps that we already know EXACTLY where we are getting married. We just need to wait until May to book it because they said no longer than two years out. That is set in stone. We know our colors. We know we’re brewing our own beer and wine to serve. But we don’t have a reception hall. We don’t have a wedding party, with the exception of my friend Megan being my Maid of Honor. We don’t have anything else bought or even picked out. But you know what? We have TIME. We still have about 28 months until the big day, and because we want to do a lot of “Do-It-Yourself” projects, I’m happy to have two summers to complete those. We will eventually decide who else will be in our wedding. I will look at, try on, and pick out a wedding dress. I will decide what I want my bridesmaids to wear. We will figure out how we want our venue to be set up. Everything will fall into place, and we don’t have to stress about it for the time being. Another bonus to waiting so long is that we have that long to save up money as well. The wedding shouldn’t cost too much at all, but our honeymoon sure is going to be expensive. We aren’t a normal couple, and our honeymoon will not be normal either.
3. Become more adaptable. This is a major goal of mine, and it is one that I have been working on for the past (nearly) three years. I have always lived a very stable life. I was born in Kansas City. I grew up in Raytown, a suburb of Kansas City. I went to school, Kindergarten through high school graduation, in Raytown. I then moved less than one hour away for college in Warrensburg, Missouri. Everything was stable; everything stayed the same. And then I met Dan. His decision to be in the military changes everything, and my decision to stay with him despite all of those changes means that I need to come to terms with CHANGE. I hate change. It makes me uncomfortable. It stresses me out. In other words, change makes me a basket case. Knowing that we will have to move away from Colorado Springs in just over two years makes me crazy already, and it’s far away. (Yes, I know moving to Colorado in the first place was a GIANT step for me, and yes, it has been an easy transition because I love it here, but it was still scary moving so far away for the first time). We will be moving three times in the first two years as a married couple. After that, we will move every three to five years. I will have to find new jobs each time. Our future children will have to leave old friends behind and make new ones, just to say goodbye again. I will undeniably be a single mother at some points while Dan is deployed, nothing I ever thought about growing up. That’s not anyone’s dream, but it’s a reality for military families. Change is a given in my future, and my goal is to learn to love it… or at least be okay with it.
4. Publish my novel (or a novel). Yes, that’s right. I wrote a novel. Can you believe it? (Yes, I’m being sarcastic. I know everyone knows I write a lot. Look at this blog post, for example.) During November of 2010, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Essentially, I spent all 30 days of November writing a novel. I kept it saved on Microsoft Word, my flash drive, and Google Docs so it would always be available to edit no matter where I was. I even took my laptop with me to Las Vegas to write during our Thanksgiving trip. Dan went to play some table games, and I stayed in our hotel rom until I hit my word quota for the trip. I’m not that boring; it actually happened faster than I thought. When the month was over, I had 50,500 words, which is roughly 152 pages on Microsoft Word. Writing that novel was stressful, but it was also one of the best months of my life. I learned so much about my dedication to writing when I made it a top priority. Dan was 100% supportive of me along the way, helping me brainstorm new ideas, answering my military questions, and sending me encouraging texts all month long, all while he made sure I got plenty of sleep and coffee. Now all I need to do is edit the novel. It’s just sitting on my desktop in a folder. I have even categorized it by chapter so it wouldn’t be so overwhelming, but for some reason, I’ve just had the most difficult time getting motivated to edit. Writing it was fun, but having the daunting task of editing looming over me just makes me cringe. I LOVE editing. I really do. I edit texts for others all the time. But my own writing scares me. What if I made so many silly mistakes that I give up? (Because remember: I was typing so fast to hit my 50,000 word count that I did not edit a single time during the writing process). What if the plot is so stupid that I throw up? What if my characters are lame? My goal for 2012 is to have the novel entirely edited by New Year’s Eve. It is an entire year’s task because it’s going to be a gargantuan amount of work. Then, one day, I will get brave and write query letters to publishers, and maybe, just maybe, my dream will come true. We shall see.
5. Learn photography. This is the only “fun, just for me” goal that I have on my list. The rest of my goals are things that absolutely need to get done, but this one is something I want to learn to do all for fun. When Dan goes to pilot training, I will not be able to teach since we’ll be moving so much. I am going to (and I mean it!) take a photography course or two. Even if there is nowhere to learn in the tiny town that we end up in, I will do it online. I’ve heard there are great courses online. I want a nice, expensive camera that I can get great results with. But I can’t justify buying something like that if I don’t have a clue how to use it. I want to be able to capture every place we live, every place we travel to, our future children, all of our pets… those things DESERVE to have amazing photographs taken of them, and since no one else will be able to do it for us all the time, I feel like I need to develop a skill to do so. I’ve been interested in photography since elementary school when I got my first camera (a Polaroid!) but it was never a priority to me, as other things have interested me more. I WILL make it a priority, and after that, I will have amazing pictures to show for it. Wish me luck on this endeavor.
Wow, it was pretty tough thinking of five specific goals, but I feel really good about sitting down and actually coming up with those. Having something to strive for is always a plus. Now I can work toward these goals and hopefully accomplish all of them.