Goals define us.
An NBA player wants to win basketball games.
A chef aims to make good food.
A cop tries to catch bad guys.
A dirty cop might not.
Your definition of success is embedded in your identity.
As much as people never follow through with them, I think New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to set goals.
But I just can’t seem to come up with any this year, and I think it’s because of some sort of “identity crisis”.
I had a few too many “quarter-life crises” in 2020. (I can imagine I’m not alone here)
Achieving a few of my goals this year left me wondering why they were my goals in the first place.
I finally got what I wanted and I still wasn’t happy.
It feels like I’ll never be satisfied.
A lot of reflection and staring in the mirror left me really lost and questioning who exactly “Jonathan Cai” is.
Who is this guy that poured their life into finding a secure job, disregarding family, friends, and enjoying life in college?
I’m so unsure about who I am, that I’m too scared to set goals for an entire 365 days into the future.
Who am I to dictate what Jonathan Cai of December, 2021 should be and should strive for?
What if it makes that guy even more depressed and messed up in the head?
90 Year-Old Advice
This line of reasoning is also why I don’t think it makes sense to listen too closely to the advice of 90 year olds.
It sounds nice in theory: take lessons from our elders so we don’t make the same mistakes.
And don’t get me wrong, listening to your elders holds some degree of merit.
But the 90 year old you is a very different person than the 21 year old you.
You’re a different person at that point in life, so of course, your goals are different.
If your goals are different, your value systems are different, your decisions are different.
Why take advice from someone whose values are fundamentally not aligned with your own?
Why live like a 90 year old person in a 21 year old body?
And if I worked in middle school the same way that I do now, I would hardly have a childhood, would I?
Anyways, I’m rambling now, and its somewhat of a difficult subject that could quickly get philosophical.
Point is, I’m having a hard time deciding who I am exactly right now, which makes it infinitely more difficult to come up with something that resembles a list of New Year’s Resolutions.