Did I unravel my year by not setting goals?

Goal setting, or not

When I began 2022, I neglected to do the one thing I have done many years in a row. I didn’t spend my break while camping over New Years creating icons mapping out my goals for the year ahead. I planned to. Folks I camp with every year were expecting me to. I had my 2022 diary with me. Instead the days passed at Harrietville without me doing much other than reading and catching up with my friends. In all honesty, I was worn out after the previous two years living with coronavirus and three years working a double job. So, I rested until half of our gang tested positive with COVID and set about packing up to go home. When our mates left, my husband and I decided to stay another night. I thought that I might my planning then, but I didn’t.

January passed without my goal planning until I was in the thick of the year with schools returning to face-to-face learning every single day along with the school undergoing a major renovation, which felt like a lot after the previous two years. As the year passed, the rejections banked up, the mood swirled, the days loomed. I began to wonder if I had somehow cursed my year by not giving it the time and attention that I normally gave each year. Now, I am a realist at best and generally don’t get into all the woo woo of things but I think there is something in this.

By choosing to take the time to reflect on the year past (what worked and what did not, what to celebrate and what to grieve) and to take the time to think about what I want from the year ahead (and what it may offer me, what I may put in front of myself), I set myself up well for the year ahead. When I don’t (like at the beginning of this year), I am adrift. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things I have set in place this year that I am super proud of and excited about. It’s just that I feel I have spend this year looking over my shoulder trying to remember what was good and whether this is the direction I wanted to be heading toward.

Mid year crisis/career change

Toward the end of Term 2 when Melbourne schools had the longest face-to-face teaching since 2019, I felt that the world around me was too sharp, prickly, and I was at odds with it all. I was sitting at home after work one evening when I started crying. Unstoppable, unprompted crying. This continued until my husband came home, surprised to find me in this state. I was tired. My job, the covid years, life, had worn me down. I was tired from being in a constant state of exposure to covid. I had covid in May and hadn’t fully recovered from it. I kept getting sick, coughing, losing my voice. My migraines were out of control. He reminded me that the term was nearly done and I could rest as much as I needed over the two-week break, but he could also see that I needed more than this. He reminded me that I did not need to keep doing this job, that we no longer had kids at school and, anyway, they didn’t need me during the holidays anymore and that I usually spent the majority of the holidays recovering. Again, he said, You don’t need to keep doing this job. There are other jobs you can do that you will love.

I know (and he knows) I don’t need his permission but it helped to hear it from him. He also asked me if I was having a midlife crisis, which I doubt he will ask again.

Putting in my resignation was tough, especially as I had such strong relationships with the students and staff, but was the best decision I have made in a long time. While I love/d the school and the school community, it was time to pass the baton onto someone else, and time for me to look for something else.

I left at the start of October to give myself the rest of the year to recover, refresh, recharge. To go slow enough to see and hear the world around me.

2022 stats (in lieu of my goals page)

I love stats, so if this is not your thing, skim past.

  • 46 books read
  • 1 full new draft completed on The Needleworker’s Daughter
  • 9 agents approached
  • 2 short stories written
  • 2 writing retreats attended
  • 1 house renovation completed with my own office
  • 1 garden redesigned with 50 (estimate) new plants dug in and 200 (or more) seeds flung into the garden
  • 1 career plan executed
    • 9 job interviews attended
    • 2 job offers
    • 1 job accepted
    • 1 course enrolled in
  • 1 kid graduated from uni
  • 1 dog struggling with blindness and deafness and old age
  • 1 existential crisis (not helped when my improv team called themselves Existential Crisis)
    • Countless shoulders cried on
  • 3 levels of improvised comedy completed (with countless barrels of laughter executed)
  • 1 family member died
  • 1 glorious road trip that reminded me how good it is to detox from everything
  • 5 website posts
  • 1 new newsletter platform – find it here and subscribe! (Don’t mind my shameless self-promotion)
  • 7 newsletters

The things that kept me grounded this year were my friends and family. I don’t know if I would have survived this year without them.

2023 goals and plans (and other exciting things)

I don’t have my 2023 goals and plans sorted, but I am committing to goal setting while camping so you’ll hear these when I’m back. I do know a few things that I will be doing next year: I start a new job early in January, I will begin a coaching course, I will continue the quest for an agent and a publisher for The Needleworker’s Daughter and I will complete at least one draft of my new manuscript. Other than that, watch this space.

Something I learnt this year was to lean into the day to see what it has to hold and to cherish the moments it presents.

See you in the new year.

x Meg

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