I’m 46 Years Old and I Have No Goals

What life feels like at the end of your to-do list.

It’s Sunday morning. I’m sitting at my countertop having a cup of coffee. I watered my plants, made breakfast, and did a load of laundry. This is my day. I have nothing else to do.

A few weeks ago I checked off the last few things I had to do on my to-do list. I am now on autopilot. This would make some people feel horribly uncomfortable. I feel fantastic.

My life has been controlled by a series of spreadsheets. I am a planner at heart and I like charting things out. I have spent years crunching numbers and creating scenarios to get me where I wanted to be.

Of course, the destination of where I wanted to be has changed about a half a dozen times in the last 25 years. The idea of what it would feel like when I got there has also changed.

Like every other warm-blooded human being, I had this list of everything I needed to do or make happen so that I could be happy. We create the list with a vision of happiness in mind and push ourselves to keep moving forward. Onward. Upward. Forever forward.

The danger of the “I’ll be happy when…” list is that we can always find something else to add. We run the risk of never quite being satisfied. What is in front of us is no longer good enough. There is always better out there. So we start the cycle of onward and upward all over again.

I think of it in terms of people that set a goal of paying off their mortgage, get there, and then turn around and sell that house to buy a bigger, better, prettier house that now has them indebted to a mortgage again.

That does not feel like moving forward to me.

I don’t need or want more. There’s no asking, “what’s next?” I’m sitting in the middle of the next. I have decades left in my life but I have no plans. I’m in the middle of my plan.

The spreadsheets are still here. The difference is that they don’t control me anymore. I get up on Saturday morning, do a general status check on my life, look around, and say to myself, “This is good.”

This did not just happen magically. In case you are holding out for it, there is no magic fairy that will arrive at your home and take care of everything. Lord knows, I have wished and prayed and hoped for that damn fairy.

This moment is the culmination of dozens of good and bad decisions. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I now practice radical self-acceptance. I’ve lost money and saved money and figured out how to live on less. Living on less decreases your desire to want more because having less makes you happier.

I haven’t gotten rid of dreams. Those are still there but they’ve become ideas, not goals. I browse listings online for sunny terracotta-colored condos overlooking Zihuatanejo Bay in Mexico. I tell myself that sure would be nice and then leave it there.

I’m living right now and choosing not to hold out for later to live more, live better, or live happier.

My boyfriend is coming over later to drink cocktails while floating in the pool, listen to music, and grill dinner on the patio that I have no inclination to improve any more than I have. My patio is fine.

My boyfriend is also fine. I feel no need to work on him either. There’s no goal or end game with Chris. It doesn't mean I don’t see a future for us. He’d be great company on that pretty condo balcony in Zihuatanejo. But, I’m happy where we are, enjoying each day we get to spend together. It’s enough. He’s enough.

I’m not sitting in my house wishing it was that Mexican condo. The last things on my to-do list were part of a remodel I did after refinancing the house. It looks just how I want it to. I worked hard to create this and when I get up in the morning, I walk around my home and it makes me happy.

It’s not perfect, but it’s mine. Just like my life.

I’m okay with my body. It could be better, it could be worse. I could be stronger. Really, though, I’m fine. I’m going to do a fitness challenge next month but it’s more about supporting my friend Miranda than losing 10 pounds. Miranda is more important than ten pounds. That’s a perspective I like having.

I have no job I’m shooting for. I’ve achieved enough. There’s no salary I want to make. I have what I need. I’m comfortable with what’s in my bank account, what’s socked away in my retirement fund, and what’s not on my credit cards.

I’m all good. I’m content. I’m satisfied.

Something interesting happened when I got to the end of my “I’ll be happy when….” list. I’m happy. I didn’t see that coming. For me, happy is waking up on a Sunday morning, looking around, and realizing that everything is good enough.

Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, I won’t stop taking pictures of my drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre

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