I was filing away some papers recently when I found a list of life goals I made a few years ago. It's clipped to a prioritization grid a friend had given me to do as an exercise. Because these are the kinds of things L.A. friends get excited about and share: Prioritization Grids. It's pretty hot.
I'm pretty good with short-term stuff. I like to look at my available options at any given time, pick one and go. It's more productive in the day-to-day to do what you can rather than spend your time banging on closed doors or wanting to be somewhere you're not. We are where we are, after all, and I for one am having a blast.
But it's a good exercise to sometimes think about the future, the big picture. Spending some time dreaming big can help you make the right choices as you go. And dreaming big is clearly what I decided to do when I made this list, which starts:
1. Direct a feature film
2. Direct an episode of television
I remember that I paused here. A moment of, what else could there possibly be? Then I decided to go for broke:
3. Finish a screenplay that rocks
4. Buy a Lexus
5. Visit Wales
6. Visit Louisianna
7. Have a kick-ass home theater system
8. Learn Spanish
9. Attend the Oscars
10. Get married
11. Pay off my student loan
12. Donate something supercool to FSU Film School
13. Truly consider living in the Broadway Building on Vine
I never did go back and prioritize them.
Reading this list made me smile. It's such a picture of me, such a mix of dreams and more practical desires, and a few years later, I still love all these things. I will only add two items:
14. Have an investment account
15. Buy an investment property
One big thing has changed however, and that is that I no longer have an urgent sense of desire attached to these things. Any of them will make me totally joyous when I get there, but I am also joyous about my life and the things in it right now, every day.
I still dream of a year where I direct eight episodes of one-hour episodic and work my ass off, but banging at that door, or feeling bad that I can't even get to the door, has lost interest for me. I'm directing an amazing film short in the next few months. I'm already losing myself into that world, and I can't wait to pull a creative team together and work together to bring it you. I'm working every day towards my goals, working towards a profitable writing/directing business. Meanwhile, I have space of my own, food on my table, good friends, and good work to do every day. I am so blessed.
It occurs to me that castles in the sky are supposed to be luminous and pretty. Not dark and taunting.
And so I'll share one of my favorite quotes, which has sat one one desk or another of mine for many, many years:
Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. --Louisa May Alcott
May your dreams inspire you, and may every day bring you joy.