Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I just can't stop it. The corn keeps on coming...

I like checking things off lists. There are the small day to day lists: food shopping, dry cleaning pick up, finish that book. And then there is The List that only contains two or three big goals.

A few years ago, the top item on the uber-list was finishing the dissertations. When we were about 3/4rds through with our opuses, it became clear that the academic market was so tight that we would be highly unlikely to find jobs in the same city and might not even find employment at all. (Gee, it took you that long to figure that out?) We considered stopping right there. Walking away before the defense and saving months of time and money. But we finished and were able to cross the dissertations off the list. I think we made the right decision to finish. Life is so much better now that the dissertation is finished. Three years later, I'm still happy to be done.

After I finished, there was a short period of disorientation. What should I be thinking about? What should I be doing?

One of our major goal for this year was to find a new place to live. About a year ago, it became clear that raising a family in four floor walk up sucked. (Yes, we're slow.) But finding a place to live during this housing bubble was far from easy. I rambled on and on about our housing adventures: here, here, here, here, here, and here.

In two days, adequate shelter will be crossed off the uber-list. Sure we'll have to pull up carpets, steam off wallpaper, and paint the ugly walls, but those items don't belong on the uber-list. I need a new big goal.

Striving for goals is what makes life interesting. Achieving them is what makes life sweet. It provides a narrative for one's life.

Now that my kids will be tucked away safely in the second floor bedroom and I won't have to deal with the drudgery of being an urban parent, I'm freed up to concentrate on the next big plan. I just don't know what it is going to be yet.

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