moving the goal post

​I’ve been cooped up at home with so much free time on my hands. It’s almost overwhelming the time I have at my disposal. Or more specifically, the pressure to use it wisely is overwhelming.

See, with so much time on my hands, I’d expect myself to utilize it better. Since I always complain internally that if I just had a little more time to work with, I could get everything done. But I haven’t. Or perhaps, I can’t?

What does success really mean to me? How much would I have to get done in order to pat myself on the back? How much is enough? Whenever I honestly try to answer this question, it’s always something that’s just out of reach. Is it unrealistic?

No, I don’t think it’s unrealistic. But maybe I’m looking in the wrong places.

At first, I was hesitant to reevaluate things, to reconsider how I see success in my life. Because in many ways it feels like a cop-out, cowardice. If at first you don’t succeed, move the finish line a little closer. But after meditating on this in prayer for a while now, I’ve concluded that it’s not a vertical shift I need, but to orient myself on a whole another axis.

Let me explain.

The vertical axis here is referring to the same mindset of “how much can I accomplish” just with different intensity. I can’t achieve X, Y, Z, so perhaps I should just be happy with accomplishing X. If I subscribed to this, I do think that I’d be copping out. The only reason I push myself to do X, Y, Z, is because I’ve thought about it enough for it to seem plausible. I should discipline myself to get it done. Not coax myself into being satisfied with lower results just because it’s hard.

It’s not about moving up and down the same axis I’ve been on. But looking at another criteria for determining how “productive” I’ve been in a day. It’s not about the sheer amount of things, but how meaningful the things I get done are.

From an eternal perspective, is what I’m striving to accomplish worth it? Will any of this matter after I’m dead? Do my actions reverberate into eternity? For so long I’ve downplayed many of the more “menial” aspects of my life, and saw them more as distractions or a deterrence from the “bigger picture.” But this mindset never ends. And before I know it, I’m going to look back at my life and regret not spending more time with my family, not taking proper care of my home, my health, not giving myself any moment to breathe.

I’ve already seen fruits of my labor manifest into the world since I’ve adopted this new philosophy. And I’ve found more satisfaction with the work I’m doing, since I’m able to better prioritize things now. It’s funny because now it doesn’t feel like “labor” at all. But just getting back on track.

April 16, 2020

Josh Swanson