I am currently struggling with my lack of defined goals for the future. Now that I’m a stay-at-home unschooling mom, I feel lost at times, wanting there to be some sort of tangible short term goal to reach. There isn’t one. And as far as my children’s education is concerned, I don’t want there to be one. Freedom to mess about in the process is where the learning actually happens. I know this from many years in the classroom, where I was required to deny this of my students on most occasions in order to teach to an overwhelming curriculum. Setting the mind on one goal ignores the possibilities held in all other options. Like scattering seeds to the wind, one doesn’t know which ones will be carried the furthest, which ones will root and grow strongest, and which ones won’t take at all. All one can do is wonder and scatter the seeds anyway.
So why is it so difficult for me to apply this lens of free form creativity to my own life? I am having to ‘unschool’ myself in order to find happiness without goals. It is a slow process. I feel like I have been trained to be goal oriented. It is a great thing to be able to write on my resume, but my current ‘job’ is not conducive to this approach. The harder I push toward a goal, the harder my children resist. The more depressing downside to goal setting is that focus on a goal separate from oneself often overshadows the here and now. If I am constantly striving for something, then how can I possibly be present with what it is that is happening?
When you get used to measuring yourself by incremental measurable successes, hoop jumping of sorts, then it becomes difficult to notice small progressions toward the ultimate holistic goal of living a happy fulfilled life. Of course I delight to I see my children having fun, engaging with nature, playing well together, helping or supporting others, but somehow these glimmers of beauty don’t ‘measure up’ as a goal reached. This is inherently a problem of perception. Perhaps it is because they, like me, have a learning process that spirals around, leaving much room for the messiness of life. Then there are the tasks of a mother that never end; the dishes, the laundry, the meal preparations, the kitchen cleanup, the toileting and diapers. I get excited sometimes to ‘catch up’ on laundry and get it all put away, only to find that another load needs to be done a day or two later and the cycle continues. There are no external reward systems for being a good mother. I won’t be getting a sticker, a pay raise, or an A on my test paper. It is highly likely that I also won’t be recognized for my efforts. Noticing my success needs to come from within.
I am trying to grow my capacity to take time to be truly grateful for the moments I get to share with my children. It is such a privilege for me to be home with them. It is so important and so necessary to honour the beauty in our days together. From experience, I know that deeply feeling moments of joy, pride, and wonderment gives me strength to carry on through the more treacherous parts of the journey. Although I feel a vastness of future spread out before me, with no idea where I’m headed, I realize that this is truth whether I have a goal or not. The goal is only something my mind has conjured up to maintain the illusion of control. Rather than wracking my brain trying to figure out my future, I want to be able to trust that everything will work out alright, and as it should. I want to be able to sit in the mystery, and be alright with it. Maybe even one day, I will be able to delight in it too.