Short term goals are good. My goal to blog every day over the course of Lent was a great one for me. I didn’t make it, but I would still qualify it as a success as I’ve already said here before. But now when I sit down to write my posts, I find that I have run beyond the backdrop and I am floating freely in space.
I need a new short-term goal. I need a new Lent, but somehow it needs to be something real. If I said that I was going to blog six days a week for the next forty-six days, I don’t think it would have the same hook for me. That kind of resolution would feel like an afterthought; a contrivance. When it was for Lent, a recognized period of time observed all over the world it gave it some weight and some meaning.
I need a time period and even as I write this I know what that should be. My wife has been studying intensely for a number of months now – since the end of the summer – for a nursing exam. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before so I’ll mention it now just in case. She earned her masters degree as a nurse practitioner almost nine years ago now. It’s easy to remember because my son attended her convocation as a nursing infant. He was only a couple of months old. He just turned nine today. But she never wrote the exam that would certify her to practice as a nurse practitioner. It’s a very hard exam and it takes quite a lot of work to prepare for it. It’s a comprehensive medical exam so you can’t just wing it.
So anyway, nine years on and she’s preparing to finally write this thing and her exam date is at the end of June, just a little over two months from now, so it seems clear to me that if that is her big date, then I need to make my next period of resolution end on that date as well.
So here’s the thing that’s coming into my mind as I write this – There was another thing that began when my son was born: I started writing a book. As an employee of the provincial government I get pretty sweet benefits and when my son was born I was able to take four months off at almost full pay. I still can’t believe I was able to do that. It’s remarkable, considering how little time off mothers are able to take in some places.
So anyway, I was able to take that time and I started writing a book. My wife graciously gave me hours a day to hole up in our office to start this book…and nine years on, this book is still unfinished. In my head I’ve been telling myself that I need to finish it before my son turns 10. But why not shoot for ten months sooner than that?
The thought of it scares me. I have to be honest. If I was good at finishing things I would have finished this thing years ago, but the thing that comforts me about that is that if I had finished it years ago, I don’t think it would have been the book that it’s going to be once I finally do finish it. I feel like all this time has been a learning process and I’ve been only adding pieces to the puzzle with each passing year.
I actually finished a draft of the whole book over a year ago but it was too disjointed. My wife read through the first half, but while she was doing that I read through it too and I could see clearly that there was a lot of editing that I needed to do on my own before I wanted to pass it off to readers. I needed to give more structure. I’ve been working on it all fall and into the new year and I’ve gotten into a good rhythm but I haven’t set any goals…
I need to crunch some numbers to see if this is actually possible.
I just stepped on the board at my church and it’s a really crucial time. There’s a lot of thinking and planning to do. My wife and I have been talking to an engineer about doing some work on our basement and we really want to nail some things down to get that underway before everyone is all booked up for the summer. There’s also a number of other projects that need doing.
But if I actually do finish this thing by the end of June then that might free me up to focus more on some of those things…it’s possible…if not unlikely.
It’s not the most achievable goal I’ve ever considered, but as much as it scares me, it also excites me. Even if I don’t make it, the thought of going after it with all I’ve got feels right.
Okay, so give me a day to think through this and to look at the calendar. I’ll come up with a plan and I’ll check back in . I also should start working on the book tonight because I’m using up my book-writing time to do this post. No more of that. I need to get my posts done in the morning.
I’ve still got a little less than an hour here, so I’ll make the most of that and make sure I get up at 5 tomorrow and let you know where I’m at.