We Need Less Goals and More Ideas

Vanessa Torre

Life should get to be a moving target.


When I was younger and starting out in my career, a colleague gave me what I thought at the time was great advice: Always have a five year plan. Once a year passes, add another on. Simple.

I’m not buying it anymore, though. I’m not sure I want to have goals. Goals feel restrictive. Goals feel like a straight line between two points. I’m more into meandering these days.

Instead of goals, I want to have ideas. Big, epic, fascinating ideas.

I can tell you this: I have absolutely no idea what my like is going to look like in five years. Absolutely none. I have no idea where I’ll be living, what I’ll be doing or who I’ll be with or without.

What I can do is tell you how my life will feel. I will be happy. I will be traveling as often as I possibly can. I will feel at peace. I will have financial independence. I will be paid to do work I love. I will live off less.

For me, the ends are far more important than the means. What route I take from Point A to Point B is irrelevant. It can and should be fluid.

I have always been a highly focused person. I like the idea of working toward something. The hard part about that is that it can make me feel discouraged. Having a laser focus on something allows for the doors of disappointment to open wide if I hit a speed bump.

For the last few months, I have been fixated on what to do when I become an empty nester. The plan? Rent the house, travel the country in an Airstream, figured out where I want to put down roots, sell the house, but a tiny house. Well... That’s freakishly specific.


Maybe we don’t have to plan everything out. When I pick apart my empty nest plan the why becomes far more important than the what. Clearly, travel will be important. Working remotely will be necessary. Well, seriously, I can get to these points in so many different ways. I don’t want to laser focus on one.

I like having options. I like the idea that my life can go down several different paths, all leading me to the point where I live a fulfilled and happy life. This allows me to be open to anything. This is the world of possibilities.

Embracing possibility feels incredibly liberating.

I understand that some amount of planning needs to happen in order to move my life from Point A to Point B. These are your usual adult things to do: pay off debt, put money aside for retirement, reevaluate my work environment.

What it boils down to is that I want the freedom to be able to do whatever the hell I please.

I am incredibly fortunate. I have mastered adulting and have been rewarded with a life in my mid-40s that makes me pretty happy. My ability to set the building blocks for opportunities later in life is pretty hardcore.

I just don’t want to paint myself into a corner. I want to be able to change direction at a moment's notice. Life feels like to should be one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books where none of the options end in certain death or being stuck in quicksand.

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Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, she won’t stop taking pictures of her drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre Twitter: @vanessaltorre

Phoenix, AZ

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