I believe in setting goals. Goals provide a purpose, a direction and a focus for life.
I had 4 childhood goals that I set around 5th grade. I have achieved 3 of these goals thus far. The other day I was talking to my oldest son, who just turned “13” and was sharing with him the value of setting goals and working to achieve them. He asked me what goal I had yet to achieve.
I wanted a basset hound. I remember when I was very young that my father used to wear “Hush Puppies” and on the cover of the shoebox was a picture of a basset hound. I had never seen a live one until I owned one. I had the opportunity to get a basset hound at the end of 7th grade. My father was in the Air Force and went on a year long remote assignment to Turkey. Before he left he told me that if everything went well while he was gone when he returned I could get my basset hound. I bought a book, How to Care for your Basset Hound, and read it cover to cover. The pictures were so cute. When my dad came home, he approached me about getting my Basset, but I declined. After reading the requirements to take care of my pet I had realized that I did not have the time to give a dog what it needed. My father was quite surprised by my response though pleased that I had the foresight to make such a decision. When I got married I did finally get my basset hound. His name was Jameson, my husband named him after the Irish Whiskey. Jameson was a “red and white”, with no black coloring. He had the sweetest temperament and warmly greeted each of my sons when they came home. We enjoyed his company for 12 years. Now we have another basset hound, Guinness Stout, yes after the Irish Beer. He is very different than Jameson both in looks he is a tri-color with very long ears and in behavior. Guinness is very affectionate but very demanding of attention and when he does not get it can become a little behavioral i.e. chewing/pulling the toilet paper and chewing on the mail. I have enjoyed having basset hounds in my life.
I wanted to go to Switzerland. I did a report on Switzerland in school and wanted to visit. This is actually the first goal that I achieved. My father was stationed in West Germany when I was in high school and for my 16th birthday we traveled to Switzerland. The country was beautiful. The Alps were everything I could dream of, complete with snow capped peaks and cows wearing bells. We took a gondola ride up to see the Jungfrau glacier and a train back down from Kleinescheidig. The most beautiful area was a small town, Brienz, that lined the edge of an emerald colored lake from which the mountains steeply rose. The town was famous for its wood carvings and of course I bought a small carving of a face in a tree limb to remember the place. I enjoyed eating Swiss chocolate and seeing the bears at the capital city of Bern. It was a wonderful trip that has stayed with me for a lifetime.
I wanted a log cabin. I’m not sure how this goal came to be, maybe from reading the book, Little House in the Big Woods, or from playing with Lincoln Logs. This goal became a reality when my husband and I bought property in Orland, Maine on Rocky Pond. We worked with a local contractor and had a small log cabin built. It actually was a kit for a barn style log cabin garage, and we had some extra space added on for a sitting area, bathroom and utility room. There are two large bedrooms upstairs and we converted one of the garage wells into a kitchen area with a gas refrigerator and stove. The kitchen sink ended up in the sitting area as we had not planned for it, but it works out fine there. My family and I have shared so many wonderful memories at the cabin from watching the cement slab being poured, kayaking on the pond, watching the bald eagles and Loons and playing games at night by flashlight. We created our own song about all the wonderful things we love about the place called “A Beautiful Day on Rocky Pond.” The cabin is wired for electricity but there is none so we use a generator as little as possible so as not to disturb our own peace and quiet. I would like to be able to go there more frequently because it is such a great place to escape and just relax but as the saying goes in Maine, “You can’t get there from here” at least not quickly and cheaply from Florida. The cabin has prepared our family well for hurricanes. In Maine we have gas for a refrigerator and stove and use the generator for priming the well for water. In Florida we have water and use the generator to keep our refrigerator going. Post-hurricane waiting for return of electricity has allowed us to enjoy the same kind of family and friend time that we cherish when we are at the cabin in Maine. I think everyone should have a log cabin to retreat to and get back to the real meaning of life.
I want to go to Alaska. This is the last goal that I have yet to achieve. I did a report on Alaska in 5th grade. My father had some temporary duty assignments up there around that time. I also read a story about the history of the start of the Iditarod, when there was an epidemic in Nome, Alaska and the medicine was brought in by dog sled. I remember drawing a picture of a house that had a glass roof so that you could see a panorama of the surrounding mountains. We were planning on going to Alaska when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest son. My husband’s college roommate actually grew up in Alaska and still has a residence there. So we hope to take our sons there within the next few years before they are out of the house. My husband looks forward to fishing and I would like to hike in Denali and visit the glaciers.
My four childhood goals have and will sustain me for a lifetime. I once heard that if goals are written down they are more likely to be achieved. I’m not sure if I ever wrote these goals down together or apart, though they have been written in my mind since they were created and I do believe they will all be achieved. I write down goals all the time, better known as a “to do” list. I really do find that when I commit a task to paper it more often than not gets accomplished. I make “goal’ lists at home and at work even for simple things like the grocery store or errands and chores that I need to get done. I am trying to instill in my children the value of “goals” in providing purpose, direction and focus for their lives and the sense of fulfillment it provides when they achieve their goal(s) or just cross something off their “to do” list. This is what I believe.
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