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October 23, 2008 / jadettman


Is it really necessary for a person to accomplish something during their lifetime? Does everyone need a goal in life?

Here’s the thing: I’ve been doing this whole “life” thing for a little over thirty-six years now and I’ve still got no real goals. There are plenty of things that I like to do, there are plenty of things that I’m capable of, but I still don’t have any plans to accomplish something during my lifetime.

When I was a kid, I figured that I would be a writer, mostly because I seemed to be good with words. That doesn’t seem to be panning out so much.

I like to play games and understand how they work, so for the last few years I’ve been toying with game design. Yeah, I’m not so sure I’m very good at that either.

I really like to do layout and design character sheets, but even that gets tedious when it’s not a project that I’m particularly interested in.

And hanging out with your friends and playing games doesn’t really seem like a goal in life.




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  1. James / Oct 23 2008 8:56 am

    It seems to me that you have accomplished a lot in life. I would say that being a good and loving spouse (I assume these things, but I suppose I should ask Britt) is a huge accomplishment, and one that not very many people in our society seem very adept at. I would say that being a good and ethical person, one with character and convection, is an extremely difficult and rare accomplishment, and truthfully one I word on a lot. Your accomplishments might be different from what you envisioned as a child, but I think that is typical. Just my thoughts though, hey what I do know, a lot of people would argue I have not accomplished anything and I definitely have not fully realized my childhood vision of my adult life, but who has?

  2. J.A. Dettman / Oct 24 2008 5:45 am

    I definitely agree that people rarely accomplish their childhood goals, James. I think it has something to do with youthful expectations and understanding of the world.

    And I appreciate that you think I’m a good person.

    Some days, though, I get introspective and wonder if I’m going to look back and regret that I wasn’t more ambitious.

  3. Britt / Nov 4 2008 8:47 pm

    I wonder a lot about my own goals in life. I’ve drifted along in large part by following pre-fab goals: get accepted to grad school, graduate from college, find a job, finish PhD, get tenure, get promoted to full professor, then… Death?

    I wonder often whether these are really the goals I should have been / be pursuing, or whether I just got onto this track and found it would be harder to get off the track than to just follow it to its logical conclusion.

    I like to think that my overriding goal is always to keep improving as a person mentally, physically, professionally emotionally, socially, et cetera, but that’s a pretty scattered and inconsistent effort. I admire the sort of person who sets out to sail around the world or found a charity or master an art form, but I don’t think I’ll have the gumption to do something like that.

    On the other hand, I admire people who start their own companies and write books and stuff too, Mr. J. A. Dettman. 🙂

  4. J.A. Dettman / Nov 5 2008 8:19 pm

    Improving as a person is a pretty good goal and one I think everyone should be striving for. And I can appreciate your concern about the pre-fab goal, having watched you working on it from the outside.

    You seem to enjoy teaching, though, so I feel like you’ve gotten somewhere.

    Yeah, and I can appreciate that starting a company and writing things can be seen as admirable. I just don’t feel all that impressed by it from this side. You know?

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