Monday, November 15, 2010

Life goals

I just had an interesting conversation with a Korean adult student of mine tonight.

It started with a game of "'what ifs".

The first question was 'what if you were only given 24 hours to live, what would you do?'

Two hours later we were into a pretty deep conversation about life, death, goals, and the future. It was an awesome discussion. We talked about getting caught up in the 'money-making must have more' world we live in. I'll admit that I browse Facebook looking at pictures of people with big houses and good jobs and feel a pang of envy. I want a nice house. I want a steady full-time job with benefits and every second Friday off. I want, I want, I want......

One of the biggest complements I received while I was in Korea trying to decide if I should make the big move back to Canada came in the form of an email from someone (who I'll keep anonymous) who I know (although not nearly enough) from Canada. I was forever great full to see this at the end of the message:

...I think everyone has this idea that people who travel should stop and live in "the real world" as in, get a good job (in canada) buy a house, settle down. Even though I am doing that right now sometimes I think "is this the real world.....a boring job and a mortgage?" yeah, i can get my teeth cleaned for free because I have benefits......but there has to be more to life than that!
Anyway, that is my rant for the day haha.. meant to inspire, but sounds a bit depressing! Just know that I read your blog with a twinge of envy because it really seems that you are in the real world!

It was really refreshing to read this and at times when I think I don't have enough I flip through the pages of the good ole' blog and look back at all the adventures I've had. Damn I'm lucky I think, but then soon after I get all caught up in the work, make money to buy things mentality. I don't do nearly enough volunteer work. I work in the evenings instead of spending time doing things I enjoy.......because, get this, I kinda forgot what it is that I do enjoy. I don't have any hobbies. I've completely stopped studying Korean for fun. I don't make my health a priority when that above all things should come before work and money.

I get all caught up. I'm young enough to make a change (and so are you dad!). I'm smart enough to know what to do. Am I brave enough to do it?

I don't suspect I'll be lying on my death bed thinking 'why didn't I make enough money to buy a bigger house'?

So I've got some life choices to make. I've got to detail my goals and plans for the next few years and get on track because once I do that I know I can be successful. My biggest problem is not having a plan. Sung Hyun and I had planned everything about our lives up until Canada. And now that we are here we are both looking at each other wondering what is next.

So now the only question for you, my dear readers, is how do I get started? Because, honestly speaking, I'm fucking scared!

p.s. Thank you for writing that. You know who you are ;)


Anonymous said...

You get a piece of paper and you write down the things you want. Don't overthink them. Don't analyze them. Don't try to divide them into group. It's ok if they're confusing or seemt to contradict each other. Just put them down on paper. That's a great first step.

Amanda said...

Have you read YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE like Diana suggested yet? It is an excellent book.

As for me, years ago, I figured out the big stuff. Namely:
a) I didn't want kids.
b) I wanted to travel. Long-term, short-term, whatever.
c) I wanted to live abroad at least once.
d) I wanted to have enough money that I could pay for an emergency root canal (damn America) and an emergency car repair in the same month and still be able to eat.
e) I wanted to be able to support myself without relying on a man.

Everything else came out of that. I went into teaching and went on to get the Masters for increased pay and job opportunities. That choice caused success in (e), (d), (b), and got me (c).

Once I did some (b) and got (c), I realized that I wasn't interested in buying a house any time soon because houses lock you in one area and chain you to debt for years and years. OK, so that meant more (d), which I used to pay off my student loan, and some more money for (b).

I met a man who also (a), (b), and (c). Since we had succeeded at (d), we decided to start saving up more money so we can retire early, or at least travel a lot now, helped in great deal by the fact that both of us (a).

Yes, other people want kids. Yes, other people want a house. Yes, other people want new cars every five years. If I were one of those people, my life's trajectory would look a lot different. And that'd be OK, because that'd be what I wanted.

I think you need to sit down and honestly reflect on exactly what you want out of life. SH does, too, and then you need to see which goals are the same and work for them together. And the other goals, find a way to support each other in meeting them.

I was going to ask about your Korean studies. Since you start work later, I was dreaming of your morning schedule, studying first thing in the morning... Ah...

Jen said...

I agree with 'anonymous'. It's kinda like what we as teachers teach--Brainstorming--as the first step in writing. Just jot down--use colours to inspire you, to get the creative juices flowing! 'No idea is stupid'--isn't that what our elementary teachers told us?! Then you go through and watch the dreams, 'out-on-a-limbs', 'impossibilities', 'probabilities', etc. come together. Jen, you totally know in your heart and I see it when I think of meeting you for the first time, that you are a woman of a great many talents and experiences WHICH HAVE ALL PREPARED YOU as you've lived them! Life is not about the destination as much as it is the journey. Your life in Korea is STILL your life in Canada...because the common denominator is/are you/you and your wonderful husband. Dream. They're in you to live the fullest life, not have the fullest bank account. Love reading your blog! From another Canadian Jen! :)

Tanya said...

I agree with the above comments. Just right things down you want it life. Dont analyze them, just write them down. Though developing a "Plan" makes it less of an exciting life and makes it more of getting through the steps in life. I am guilty of this and all it does is keep me waiting for the next step and thats not living life either. Just make a list of things you want out of life and if you dont want to worry so much about money, take the how to get there day by day. It keeps the route through life exciting.

asiangarden said...

Girl, I feel your pain!
I at least want a small house of my own to lay on my death bed in! sigh....

Anonymous said...

Well, the person that wrote that must be very smart...LOL...hey wait it sounds familiar! Anyway, I stand by what I said the first time. Now that you have landed everything seems to have worked out very well for you and SH...good jobs, nice meals with your family, a car, and that's just in the short time that you have been here.

I think a list is a great idea too, maybe on that list is a big house or a dog, or flying in a hot air balloon....that's for you to decide but completing each one will be an accomplishment. Don't stress yourself out about the next big thing, you are doing awesome (and I think you know it :)) You can get everything you want as long as you work for it, just don't forget to enjoy the ride.

PS - only 9 more days of this boring job and I'm moving on to do number 7 on my a mom!