This past weekend was one of reflection and planning for the future. For the past decade, my #1 goal was to get a job here in Paris. Now that I’ve accomplished that, I’m sort of lost in terms of what to work towards next. Of course I’m celebrating and enjoying every moment of my time here, but I always operate better with a larger goal in mind. Whenever I catch myself entering a slump, it’s always important for me to sit down and check in on how I’m trending towards my long-term goals.
Those who know me well know that I’ve had my entire 20’s planned out by the 6th-month mark… since age 14. I find comfort in structure, in planning, and in always being prepared to check off the next milestone.
However, I felt myself constantly chasing the next A+, the next promotion, or some other reward at work reassuring me of my success. In Paris, the challenges I face in my personal life now exceed those I face at work (not to say my job’s easy). I’m learning that 1.) I can also find success outside of work and 2.) hey, this success even feels different. With the move abroad came so many new challenges: budgeting, long-distance friendships, language, and more. It’s overwhelming yet exciting. Watching my French slowly improve to the point where I can experience moments of a connection results in a fulfilling sense of accomplishment I never experienced before.
Last Sunday was spent at La Caféothèque, a cozy coffee shop not too far from our place. While listening to a podcast on how The Alchemist author Paulo Coelho finds inspiration (ping Josh!), Tyler suggested we do a little thought exercise. For each of the below categories, we wrote down 3 achievable goals for 2016:
- Our own relationship
For my 2016, this ranged from reading the news 10 minutes each day (I’m embarrassed to say I don’t do this often), to establishing a lifelong friendship in France, to spending free time towards a cause I care about. One of the goals for our relationship was to hold each other accountable on each of our 12 goals via a recurring monthly coffee check-in. Nerdy, I know. Welcome to the life of a serial planner 😉
In my mission towards “finding an issue I care about”, I completed my first volunteer event in Paris. It was through Benenova. I don’t think I’ve found my “cause” yet, but I did get to meet some really nice people, practice my french, and perfect my vegetable-chopping skills. We spent the afternoon preparing affordable meals from leftover market produce. Unfortunately, this kitchen is closing soon, so I’ll need to find another place to help out. (Fingers crossed the guide dog organizations will respond…)
The ultimate goal would be to find a way I can use my unique set of skills to give back to the community in a way I find meaningful… this is a pretty tough challenge and very vague to me at this point. My only strategy right now is to try different things and see what sticks. On verra!