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Life Requires Pants

tara forthComment

Boo and I are list people—grocery lists, to-do lists, travel lists—you name it. We’re particularly fond of goal lists. (That shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, as you’re probably quite familiar with my 25 While 25 list by now.) We’re Dreamers (with a capital D). We like to think about the future. We want to be better. We are hopeful, and generally quite optimistic. I think our optimistic outlook keeps our daily life pretty interesting and sort of vibrant. Little tasks like reading ten pages a day or flossing or going on a walk become a little more significant, because we know that those small things inch us a little closer to reaching our goals.

Way back in February, we created a list of ten goals each—all kinds of goals—everything from fitness to business to daily routines. I was going to have ‘killer’ legs by May, and Boo was going to eat a banana or an orange every morning. Ha. I can’t help but giggle at some of the things on my list.

It was sort of like reading an old diary…kind of embarrassing, but sort of charming and sweet. I remember how lofty all my goals seemed when I wrote them down. Now, though, many of them seem unimportant, they’ve become ‘no-brainers’. For instance, #7 on my list was “Be a morning person by April 7 (my 25th birthday).” While that’s a good thing to reach for, I wonder, did it really merit a spot on my goal list? You certainly have to start somewhere, sure, but it seems my mindset has changed. Now, waking up early is sort of a necessity, a pre-requisite, if you will, for accomplishing other bigger, more substantial goals.

I’m not saying I enjoy getting out of my cozy bed every morning at six thirty in the morning, and I’m not saying that I do it every morning. But now, when I don’t wake up early, it’s more than just something I didn’t do that I wanted to do…it’s something that I didn’t do that I needed to do.

When did the shift from want to need happen? And why?

I think it’s like this:  Somewhere along the goal continuum, the goal stops being a goal, and just becomes pants. That’s the cold hard truth. The goal is no longer a shiny object like a trophy or a medal. It stops being something that we flaunt or seek praise for. It becomes routine. Habit. Necessity. It becomes just a pair of pants that we have put on so we can get to work.

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A friend sent me this picture a while back, and I seriously laughed out loud. It seems as though my fellow twenty-somethings and I sometimes have a hard time with the idea of putting pants on. It’s not that we don’t want to be responsible adults that have real grown up jobs and do grown up things. It’s just that we don’t really want to be responsible adults and have real grown up jobs and do grown up things. Sometimes, we’d rather cling to our carefree kiddo days when pants were optional.

Go ahead: ask any kid if ‘Pants’ or ‘No Pants’ is better. ‘No Pants’ will always win.

But Life requires pants.

So I think we should start wearing our pants with pride. We worked hard for those pants! We set some goals, and we stuck with them long enough that they turned into pants! That’s pretty impressive, don’t you think? It’s really something to say, “I accomplished A, B, and C, and because of that, I can now accomplish D, E, and F. If we keep at it long enough, we’ll have accomplished a whole alphabet of goals…not to mention we’ll probably have a really impressive pair of pants to show for it (I’m talking rhinestones and sequins here people).

I now realize that those goals on my list that appear to be ‘no-brainers’ are actually goals that have turned into Pants Goals. I’ve made enough progress on them that they’ve made the shift from want to need. And, while they may have lost some of the glitz and glamour, they haven’t lost any of the importance. In fact, they are maybe more important now. Pants Goals serve as foundation for bigger ones yet to come.

And there will be bigger goals. We are created with an astonishing capacity for knowledge, perseverance, and dedication. Our potential for growth and transformation is mind-boggling to me. We aren’t created to be stagnant, so we will certainly keep moving and growing, but we can’t make big strides and big progress without first laying that solid foundation of small tasks and ‘no-brainer’ goals. We’ve got to do the work, and we’ve got to put our pants on.