By Holly Richardson

holly richardson author pic

I’ve long been a fan of having my own goals. I’ve set them for years, whether it’s New Year’s Day or sometime in the fall, or some random day after I’ve hit a milestone. I’ve chosen words of the year, made lists detailing the steps I needed to take to eat the proverbial elephant and set multi-year BHAGS (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals). 

So it’s somewhat disconcerting to be one-third of the way through January and have nothing. I finished a BHAG in August and now? Nada. I get asked fairly often “What’s next?” and my answer, still, is “I don’t know.” It’s weird! And, it’s causing me no small amount of angst.

I have ADHD and a trait I share with many other ADHD-ers is loving the “thrill of the chase.” The pursuit of the goal is often almost as satisfying as hitting the goal. Sometimes, it’s even more satisfying than reaching the finish line and I start to lose interest before I’m done. But, then I’m usually on to the next thing and this time, there is no “next thing.” 

I’ve written before on allowing ourselves to have white space in our lives, time and space not crammed to the brim with So.Many.Things. It would appear that I am not very good at allowing my own life to have white space. I tell myself I don’t need it. I already took a year off (2021), I tell myself. I started COVID baking (Great British Baking Show, anyone?!), I gardened, I worked on some family history tasks. Sounds like a break to me. Then I remember that I also started a brand-new, full-time job, nursed an adult child through weeks of recovery from surgical complications and got COVID, which flattened me for 3 full weeks and took a year to fully recover from. Plus all the other things being a mom demands. 

Maybe I can learn to be ok with a slower pace [or] smaller goals. Maybe I can learn to be ok with not knowing what’s next, including what goals to set. 

So, I swing between “I’m so busy I could die” and “If I don’t have a big goal, I might die” and “What if this internal drive to get a lot done means I’m going to die.” It could happen. I know for a fact I will die with things undone, things I wanted to do and didn’t or couldn’t.

Maybe I can learn to be ok with a slower pace. Maybe I can learn to be ok with smaller goals. Maybe I can learn to be ok with not knowing what’s next, including what goals to set. Maybe 2023 will be the year I use to finish the many projects that are almost-but-not quite done, like attaching the baseboards that are currently leaning against the wall, and finishing the last 10 pages of transcription that was largely done a year ago. Maybe. 

Read more REAL TALK w/HOLLY RICHARDSON.

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