I'm currently reading "The Effortless Life" by Leo Babauta. In it he makes recommendations for how to best live a life without much effort (hence the title). One of the items in there really struck me: "Have No Goals or Fixed Plans". This seems pretty radical to me as someone who has followed the Getting Things Done methodology since 2000. But in some ways it makes sense:
The idea of having concrete, achievable goals seems to be deeply ingrained in our culture. I know that I lived with goals for many years, and, in fact, a big part of my past writings are about how one can set and achieve goals.
These days, however, I live without goals, for the most part. It's liberating, and contrary to what you might have been taught, it doesn't mean that you stop achieving things.
It means that you stop letting yourself be limited by goals.
This makes sense to me. Leo continues with examples about how we can set these grandiose goals and plans only to have them not work out quite how we expected. I know myself I've had several goals that didn't pan out the way I had expected (I'd expected to be way more done with the Pepper&Carrot RPG by now. I initially thought it would take a year. I finally released the Daruma doll that I bought for the project. I'm sure like Mr Meeseeks the poor little guy was suffering after being around for so long. (Pro-tip: if you have to dust your Daruma over several years you are doing it wrong).
This also gets back to what I've been feeling with "retirement". I don't have clearly-defined goals anymore. I have a lot of things that I'm passionate about and want to see pushed into fruition, but as far as "goals" they're not really necessary anymore. I'm thinking those lists of 20k - 50k "horizons" (GTD speak) can just disappear. It's not like I'm not familiar with my passions (they're very much my own, and I like them very much). Letting them disappear means one less thing to track. For me that's always a win.
That's not to say that I'm going to be aimless; far from it. It just means that I'm going to use my passions to guide what I work on in the coming weeks. I'm still figuring out this whole "retirement" thing (aided by my energy levels, which fluctuate throughout the day). It's liberating to think that at least once per day I'm making the intention to work on something that I'm passionate about.
There's likely a few folks that are saying "but what about your intentions that you blog about every month? Aren't those goals?". You could make the case that those are goals, but I don't treat them as such. I'm never going to finish "decluttering", nor (as any game designer will tell you) is any game design project truly "finished". But at some point we just ship the "done enough" and move on. Goals assume a fixed point where all of the Boolean bits coalesce into a giant "and" condition that says "completed".
We'll see how this plays out. I'm always tinkering with things so perhaps in 6 months I'll be back on team "goal". But for now it's something to explore. And really, isn't exploration of what life has to offer the whole point?