Like most people, I keep a mental list of the great many things that I would like to do in life. I call them life goals. These do not include the list of chores I need to do this weekend or the tasks I must complete at work tomorrow. Instead, the list consists of items which help to orient my life or satisfy some hunger within me.
Independent of the list others may have, mine consists solely of those accomplishments over which I have complete control.
For instance, my list does not contain an entry about falling in love with the man of my dreams. I would have no control over such a thing. It is wholly a matter of circumstance and luck. I have to be in the right place at the right time to meet the person of my dreams, so that is not something over which I have direct control.
You also will not find an item on my list akin to "Be successful as a writer." While writing is on my list, whether or not I am successful at it hinges entirely on the market and finding an audience. It is quite possible that what I write will not interest enough people to make me successful as an author. Again, that is a matter of circumstance, timing and luck — as well as skill and ability.
Essentially speaking, I avoid adding hopes to my list. While having hopes and dreams is an important part of living, and such items do make up a list of their own, I am speaking entirely of goals which I know I can accomplish by proactive deed.
To give you an idea of what my list includes, here are some of the most important items included therein.
See the aurora borealis again.
Explore the ancient ruins of Egypt, including the pyramids.
Give more consideration and precedence to the friends I love and my family. Share more time with them, be responsive to their needs and desires, take care of them, and enjoy lifelong relationships with them.
Likewise, take care of my parents.
Write and publish a number of fictional novels. I am already working on the first of these, a science fiction work that is the first in a series of books chronicling a future time not too distant from now. I hope to launch this series with my first publication, but I intend to write other fictional works unrelated to this story.
Write and publish a collection of anecdotal stories about The Kids. Rick and I have already developed some cool ideas regarding the format of the book.
Write and publish a collection of anecdotal stories about my life experiences, perhaps similar in style to Dan Savage or David Sedaris. Then again, perhaps not. Whatever style they take form from, I hope to discuss familiar topics in strikingly unfamiliar ways.
Locate a number of close friends from the past. Even if renewing lost friendships is not possible, find personal reaffirmation in the effort.
Make every effort to apologize to all of those that I have hurt in life. When possible, mend the bridges I have burned along the way.
Self-actualize. I always live my life so as to demonstrate the truths and beliefs that I hold dear. I want to take that a step further by internalizing essential projections and externalizing veiled qualities. Develop a stronger sense of self.
Make a conscious decision each day to live fully and richly. Navigate the world so that I minimize or alleviate all regrets.
Faithfully continue my exercise and health regimen. Arrive at age 40, now slightly more than five years away, in good health and great shape.