When I was a young, I wanted to be Miss Universe. I figure any woman with a bejeweled crown as huge as her head would look beautiful. The closest I came to acheiving that was winning Miss World while playing a board game of the same name. I didn’t know my goal then wasn’t SMART.
My goals were dynamic and fluid as I was growing up. I wanted to be a journalist, although I didn’t know being in a Chinese school would be an obstacle, and that would also prevent me from studying law as I was barred from taking GP in A’levels, unless I do what my friend Sharon did, repeat O’levels to join the next batch and be eligible for GP.
Otherwise, I never felt the need for goals. I just drifted with the flow, going to where life took me. I knew I wanted to be married and have children, but it wasn’t a goal.
I really only started making goals when I learned about SMART goal while working in ICI and wanted my sons to learn about goal settings. So on the first day of every year since the early 2000s, we would sit down as a family to make 1-year, 5-year and 10-year goals. We also made a goal each for each other in areas we felt they needed to improve on. My sons were initially unhappy that I stipulated the conditions that their goals should incorporate grades as they were students, but they relented eventually after much debate. The goals we set for each other were SMART – Get straight As (mine to them!), run a marathon in December, lose 5 kg, pass driving, publish a book, etc.
We miss setting goals this year for some reasons. I know what my goals are though – they are now more specific although they might not be realistic, as they involve some skill and talent which might be lacking in me. I hope to publish my manuscripts and is working towards it. In yoga, I hope to be able to do the handstand and a split. Perhaps a reason why I feel these goals are elusive is that I haven’t set a timeline so as not to stress myself up. I also have a not so specific goal to age healthily and happily by getting myself out of comfort zones whenever I can. Age has made that easier as I am less bothered by how people see or judge me. It’s might be embarrassing for my sons when I go on stage at a Kopitiam to sing free karaoke, or spontaneously dance in a concert, but like everything in life, they adapt to the mother they have, however unfair they may feel. (But I think in secret they think their mother is cool.)
A conundrum I face with setting goals is the expectation and the disappointment which comes with it. It’s a bipolar feeling of a high when I set the goals and the lows when I fail to achieve it. Thus there is this reluctance I face about goal settings. Better not set and just go with the flow. Life would be so easy if I just live like many of my friends do, watch Korean dramas in front of the TV and do nothing else except being a contended housewife. I often ponder too – like why do I even need to set goals for yoga? It’s so stupid when you’re just supposed to practice for physical and mental health. But this is precisely the point – there’s no commitment if there’s no goal to work towards too. And so I plod slowly, not unlike a snail, except it glides gracefully which I don’t, and I should really be using a tortoise but I’m using the snail analogy as the snail reminds me of my yoga teacher, Denjz.
To conclude, I think I’m too old for goals and aspirations.