Before you roll your eyes, look, it's always a good idea to do periodic reflections, okay? The Fortune 500 companies do check-ins and team evaluations all the time! And if a big silvery orb hanging in the sky nudges me to do so, then you should be happy for me instead of writing me off as a beautiful, enchanting astrology Goddess. I am not going to look into what energy this full moon brings, but I feel rather restless, and I can rely on more precise illuminations tomorrow when I join fellow writers to journal whilst basking in the cosmic energy of the Full Moon. Meanwhile, these are some thoughts circling my mind lately:
It's not just the YouTubers or the self-help/ personal development content I consume, but it's this word, and the amount of emphasis every single moment is now measured against. It's exhausting to be productive all the time, and I'm not saying that the point is to live in a wholly unproductive state either. Just hearing the word over and over again, and seeing people ascribe their ability to produce as an integral part of the way they value themselves can be quite worrying. Maybe I'm projecting my own fear, and I'm scared I'll succumb to self-berating thought patterns instead of enjoying my time, while I still have the privilege of being here.
Purpose and goals
A while back, I wondered if I should make a 2021 Goals List, and post monthly updates. This was inspired by my current favourite productivity YouTuber, Ali Abdaal, who got the idea of someone else whose productivity he admires. I got stuck when I looked up the word "goals". Businesses set goals all the time, and along with, it nifty means to measure progress. But when I asked myself what my goals for the year are, I could answer it less successfully than I did last year, which is a rather alarming discovery to realise in the second half of the year. I could barely even answer what my goals in life are. Who really knows their life goals? Besides John Goddard, that is. I mean, it's also 2021 where our goals could quite literally be anything, so "graduate college, land your dream job, marry 'The One', buy your dream house, have children, travel the world etc." doesn't make the cut anymore.
I started to think about this more after finishing Jay Shetty's Think Like A Monk. In a nutshell, your goals should align with your purpose. I believe that my purpose is to serve people with my writing, flair for public speaking and event organising. Oh, and being a doctor, duh. How do I create goals that are in line with that purpose? In 2020, I wanted to support myself by writing, which I did, and am still doing (yay). I'm going to take a stab at my 2021 goals and say that I want to run this site, and create a habit of saving money. That's a solid goal, right? I'm turning 28 in 6 weeks, I am done feeling sorry for myself, and I have plenty to be grateful for. Have you ever thought about what your goals are? Do you know what your purpose is? Have a think, it feels good to know why you're getting up in the morning.
Sometimes I think about all the people I've ever met in my life. The girls I went to school with, and I went to a bunch of different schools, so there were a lot of girls. The international conferences I attended overseas, the debate competitions, the three months of National Service, the pen-pal site, the countless nights out in bars/ pubs/ clubs etc. finding strangers and leaving with friends, the groups of foreign exchange students, the poetry open mics and literary festivals, the seemingly infinite number of travelers and Tinder dates. So many people.
Then I think about the home and email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook friends, Instagram followers, and Snapchat usernames that at a time seemed to be of such paramount importance. Where has it all gone now? I've all but abandoned social media, and I wonder how they are all doing. I still remember such random stories from each and everyone of them, and I wonder what to do with them all. If I could list down all their names, and write down all my memories, I think I'd have enough evergreen content to outlive me. There's an idea. I know our memory isn't reliable, but it feels a shame to leave them collecting dust in my mind as opposed to the good it could do, even if it is nothing but a warm smile halfway across the world, reminiscing a different time and space in which our memory was made possible.
The last full moon, I let go of ego, expectations, and almond milk. A month later, I believe that there is power behind vocalising the changes you want to see in your life. I can say that following a traumatic incident which led me to call a loved one and scream my affections towards them in a state of panic and passion, ego is banished. I can say that choosing to control my breathing when I notice my emotions begin to get the better of me helps me to look at expectations I have of myself and others more clearly. Finally, I have not had almond milk since!
This doesn't mean that I have attained mastery of the ego battle or the expectation dance, it just means I got a little better at noticing, and letting it affect my life less. Often, it feels like when I calibrate my expectations according to a particular person, and when I choose compassion over aggression, that I am doing myself the favour more than I am the other person. It all sounds very fine and dandy here, but again, there is power in reminding yourself of what really matters.
In a more serious attempt to measure my progress, I am setting reminders on my calendar for every Sunday (to reset my week), every New and Full Moon (to take stock of my intentions), and every month end (to remind myself to evaluate my goals and finances).
Does it sound all a bit much? Well, when you're your own boss, it will be a lot of self-talk and calendar reminders before you can hire an assistant. Happy August Full Moon, everyone.