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Goals, Aspirations and Boomers



     There are those who believe goals and aspirations are only for the young.

     We Boomers know that's just not true!

     Just because you have retired does not mean you should stop dreaming, planning and climbing toward new endeavors. Goals and dreams give us a reason to get up in the morning. They keep us vital, happy and useful to the world around us.  

     What are your personal aspirations? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “aspiration” as “a strong desire to achieve something high or great.” 

            One might aspire to becoming president or to broker world peace. A scientist might aspire to winning the Nobel Prize. A writer might aspire to publishing a best-selling novel. A musician might aspire to performing in Carnegie Hall. The word “aspiration” makes us think of lofty achievements. 

            When we think of goals on the other hand, we tend to think of tasks to be completed. Perhaps your goals for October include cleaning out the gutters, raking the leaves, cleaning out the garage or getting an early start on holiday preparations.  

            Goals provide us with a to-do list. Aspirations provide us with a higher sense of purpose. 


            We all need goals…large and small...because when they are achieved, they provide us with a sense of accomplishment. 

            Couples who set and work on mutual goals are happier because their communication lines are open. There is something gratifying about achieving something together…even if it is something as simple as raking the yard. They enjoy the companionship while working together toward the completion of a project. Working side by side gives them an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and talk about things other than problems.  

            Do you have a bucket list? If you and your spouse haven’t sat down and shared your bucket lists with each other, now is the time. Whether you are retired or still working, you need to have something fabulous to look forward to together. You bucket may be full of travel plans, plans for downsizing your home, furthering your education or learning a new skill or hobby. Whatever your buckets contain, be supportive of each other’s dreams and plan to do whatever you can to help each other achieve those dreams. 

            Grandparents who work toward goals with their grandchildren teach them valuable lessons in work ethic and achievement. Cleaning out the garage with your eight-year-old grandson may take a little longer, but the sense of pride he will feel when you and he stand together and admire the finished product will teach him that setting and achieving goals is rewarding.  In addition, it will give you a chance to offer a pat on the back and an “atta boy”…something on which children thrive.        


            We would all love to aspire to greatness. However, life gets in the way. Most of us are too busy dealing with our day-to-day challenges to aspire to finding the cure for cancer or bringing an end to hunger in the third world.  

            What, then, is the sense of aspiring to greatness if we cannot expect to change the world? Well, the truth is, we can all change the world for the better…or at least our little corner of it. Each of us can aspire to be as “great” as we can be as individuals. Imagine…if everyone on earth aspired to greatness then acted on that aspiration by being as generous, honest, loving and hard-working as they could possibly be, the whole world would change over night. If everyone aspired to be the best at whatever he or she does…the best teacher, the best cop, the best businesswoman, the best doctor, the best ditch digger, the best insurance salesman…everything would improve everywhere for everyone. 

            Or look at it another way.  

            We would all love to be able to solve the starvation problems in sub-Sahara Africa. However, those problems are geo-political, and we are busy ferrying our grandkids to soccer practice. Yet, making a small contribution toward the purchase of a well for a village or mosquito nets for a family can mean the difference between life and death for a child. Though we cannot aspire to solving the over-arching problem, we can aspire to being part of the solution…thus saving the world of one family. 

            Raking the leaves in the yard is a great Saturday afternoon goal. Raking the leaves in the yard of an elderly neighbor changes her world. She no longer has to worry about how she will get the chore done or whether the neighbors think ill of her and her messy yard. Suddenly her world becomes one in which her neighbors notice her needs and care enough to help her meet them. She no longer feels isolated. She might even decide to bake cookies and take them to you as repayment…thus connecting her further with the outside world. Who knew raking leaves could change the world? 

            Taking out the trash is the most mundane of chores.  Taking an afternoon to pick up trash along a local waterway improves the environment and changes the world for local wildlife. Doing it with your grandchildren teaches them about appreciating God’s creation and our responsibilities as its caretakers. It molds them into better citizens of the natural world. Doing it with a local club or organization builds community spirit and encourages others to think twice before littering, thus changing the community for the better. 

            Therefore, aspiration or goal…it is all a matter of perspective. We can all aspire to greatness, because the simplest goal can become the greatest aspiration when the focus is on being the best we can be at whatever it is we do and then sharing our time, work, talent and treasure with others.