I’ll be 50 next week. In thinking about my accomplishments so far in life, it recently dawned on me that I currently have no “goals” to shoot for. It’s not that I’m anti-goals, but rather that I’ve done everything I’ve ever set out to do. Quit drinking? Check. Go to college at 30? Check. Buy a house? Write a book? Help grow a brand in 5-years from scratch to the #120 fastest growing company according to Inc. Magazine? Check check check. I don’t want to run a marathon. Or become famous. Or learn to cook Thai food. My goals today are far more modest in scope than they used to be: Don’t drink; be honest; notice the mundane in the world to explore how they’re actually remarkable. And perhaps the most innocuous goal of all – be more peaceful.

Sadly, but like too many others who are victims of their environment, I’ve done a lousy job of peace over the course of my lifetime. It’s hard to aspire to peace when everyone around you is hacking away at a life that demands you do battle with your environment to get what you want out of life. There’s nothing peaceful about a commute to work in traffic. However, over the last few months, as I’ve inventoried my personal accomplishments, the one thing I keep coming back to in terms of something to strive for now – it’s peace.

Peace. What a stupid goal. And certainly something that can never be “achieved” (not unlike the idea of sobriety.) So there’s that. I’m going for peace. Though, I don’t know whether I can get there from here. Here being America. There’s too much competition for my attention here – as I grind my way from day to day like everyone else. There’s only so much peace one can attain in the belly of the machine. It seems one would have to check out and move to the mountains. And if I’m going to check out, I’m going a lot farther away than the mountains, I assure you. Only, I can’t even check out right now. We’re far too embedded in an American life. We have the kids’ futures to consider, after all. Because when you become a parent, your selfish endeavors take a backseat to what keeps the ship afloat and traveling in the right direction. The right direction as dictated by the limitations of the machine, and combined with the goals we set inside of it.

Only, because my goal is so damn simple, it somehow feels complicated. So I’ll do like I’ve always done – keep walking in what feels like the right direction. Oh, and try to live more in the moment. Because it’s been my experience that right now is the only place that actually exists.
The Last Days - an Excerpt from Minor King

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.