Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Out of the Blue

It never fails to surprise me - the way an idea, a possibility, an alternative can sneak up on me, show up in the periphery of my vision, appear suddenly out of the blue when I least expect it.

For the past several years, I've taken this week to formulate goals for the coming year.  Usually by arenas - health, relationship, work, etc. Or, occasionally by values - family, accomplishment, creativity, etc. This past year, I had one major, all-encompassing goal. Move to St. George, downsize, and reorganize our home. (Thrilled to say, I've/we've accomplished it.) 

So what about 2012?  What's next? And in the spirit of this blog, how might I approach goal-setting in a new way?  I am slowly wending my way through old journals for insights and new possibilities, true, but that will take months to finish and a goal should be rooted in the future, right?

Then, quite unexpectedly, over a cup of coffee one recent morning, scanning a USA Today, a story caught my eye, a charming, inspiring story. The subject of the story, Jim Henry. He is 98 years old. And he has just published a book, In a Fisherman's Language. Amazing. Even more amazing, however, is that Jim was illiterate until he decided to learn to read and write - in his mid-90's! 

"It's never too late to learn," says Jim. So, what do I want to learn about, says I?  And the organizing principle for my goals for 2012 suddenly crystallized.

I'm starting with a bucket list, not of places I want to see, but of things I want to learn more about and things I want to learn to do. And from this list, I'm creating not so much a series of goals in the traditional sense of the word, but a course of study, my own syllabus. I don't know if this would work for anybody else, but for me this feels so right. Because, unlike too many of the goals of the past, goals driven by what I felt I should  or needed to do, this I want to do.

My initial thoughts - choose a theme per month. To begin with, nutrition. I'm embarrassed to admit I know too little and genuinely want to know more. And learn about the state we live in, including take a trip to explore and become acquainted with it. Or World War II, or the 20's.  And  there are the Impressionists, and the classic novels I've not read. 

And - what I want to learn to do or learn to do better -  to draw, to make better use of the computer, to write more creatively.

An explosion of ideas, generated by a brief newspaper article. Thank you, Mr. Henry.

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