Putting Down Roots

I’ve got this thing against New Years Resolutions, but I’m very pro-goals. My rules are: they have to be feasible, and if they are large, I have to break them into a few smaller goals. Also, my goal setting has flexibility. If something isn’t working, or if my progress is slower, I constantly reevaluate and modify my goals.

Naturally, one of my goals is to own a house. I’m 31 and I’ve never owned a home. In fact, I’ve wandered a lot and lived in many different cities, all because of ministry. This is ironic because I moved a lot with this pastor who used to preach “rebels are mobile” and move a lot.

So now my ministry days are over, and I’m finished with college. I’ve finally found the area of California I want to settle down in, that feels like home. And I’m ready for a home. Aside from my parents house, I’ve lived in apartments and dorms for most of my twenties. It’s time for a mortgage and a garage and some closet space that I don’t have to call up movers to move for me.

I just got a renewal notice on my post office box, which reminded me that I’ve been at my current apartment (a cute guest house near the beach) for over a year. It’s probably time to unpack the boxes, you say? Maybe. But I dread packing everything back up, so I’ve just got boxes around the house that probably won’t get unpacked until they are unpacked for good. I hope that unpacking comes soon. It’s my goal to have a house (albeit a very small condo) in the next few years.

Buying a house is such a permanent thing, which sort of excites me. After being essentially rootless, I’m happy to be putting down roots in one area. I’ve got the small things down: a post office box, a local credit union, and a local job. I’m in love with this area-the weather, the shopping, the small town feel, the way they decorate at Christmas, and yes, the proximity to Los Angeles which makes me feel connected to the real world whenever I choose to be. But best of all, I’m a short drive to Malibu or Ventura. I spent days there this summer, walking the beach, napping, and photographing the sunset. What better place to live?!

So I’m extremely excited to put down roots here. And for proof that girl power really does exist, I’ll be putting down roots alone, without a husband. This is an important step since my Christian days had me believing that a house wasn’t a home without a husband and wife and kids. But for me, this isn’t true. I don’t have a husband and that can’t be forced (although I have an amazing boyfriend of three months whom I love). So settling down will include me and the two cats, who are basically my children. I’m looking forward to what the next few years bring. I’ve got a lot of hard work to do but I’m excited to see where life takes me.

How to Set Goals

Take some time today (or everyday) to dream a little bit-not about what religion or “god” wants you to do, but about what you want to do for yourself. Go back to childhood and revisit the things that intrigued you, made you happy, your wishes…and then work out a plan that you can build upon in order to reach those goals.

We all have role models and people we look to as a sort of guide for how to live or how to answer our problems, but the thing is, we have to find our own paths and ultimately we’re the ones responsible for taking control of where our road will lead. Part of life is luck or chance or whatever you want to call it and part of it is hard work. My boyfriend, the director, always says that prayer is doing nothing. Essentially it’s true. Prayer is like wishing upon a star. It’s comforting, but it’s not going to do a hell of a lot. If I sat around praying for a great career as a writer, yet I never sent out query letters or practiced writing, my career would never go anywhere. But I don’t just sit around. I drink a lot.

In all seriousness (the above was a joke-although I do drink), hard work and ambition will get you somewhere in life. It’ll get you where wishful thinking won’t. I don’t want to be a role model, but I realize that people are curious as to how I lead my life. I’m very open, but very private in some areas. My philosophy is this: I set goals (6 month goals; 1 year goals; 5 year goals; lifetime goals) and I slowly work toward them. I’m flexible and give myself some leeway if things don’t turn out exactly as planned on time. You can’t be too rigid in life–you have to sort of go with the flow. You have to forgive yourself, also, but if you haven’t learned that by now, you’re probably feeling so low you don’t know what to do about it.

Take some time today (or everyday) to dream a little bit-not about what religion or “god” wants you to do, but about what you want to do for yourself. Go back to childhood and revisit the things that intrigued you, made you happy, your wishes…and then work out a plan that you can build upon in order to reach those goals.