Not Their Goals, But My Goals

Wedding Photo

In a meeting last week the woman I was speaking with noted that our next meeting is scheduled for what would have been her grandmother’s 100th birthday. I related to her the story about my grandmother’s 100th birthday.

My great-grandmother lived into her 90s and I used to say to my grandmother, starting when she was still in her 70s, that I thought she’d live to be 100. She would quickly dismiss me and say “I don’t want to live to be 100”. By this point my grandfather had already died, as had my grandmother’s older sister. She had also watched her mother’s memory fade to the point of no longer recognizing people, before her death. When I was older, I understood my grandmother’s sentiment.

Wedding Photo
My grandparents wedding. They’re in the centre in the back row.

The last time I saw my grandmother was on her 99th birthday while I was in California with my wife and our six-month old daughter. My grandmother didn’t know who I was and it was very sad. In June of 2010, I got the call from my parents that my grandmother had died. It was the day before her 100th birthday (and the day of what would have been her and my grandfather’s 76th wedding anniversary) and numerous people said to me, “Oh what a shame, she almost made it to 100.” As sad as I was at her death, I remembered what she’d said and smiled as I replied, “Grandma always sad she didn’t want to live to be 100.”

I don’t think my grandmother set a specific goal to die before she turned 100, but that story often reminds me to remember that what I want may not be the same as what others want. Other people thought it was said that she just missed 100, but Grandma didn’t want to live to be 100.

You can set goals for yourself. You can set goals for your business, and even some professional goals for your employees, but, for the most part, you can’t set goals for other people and they can’t set goals for you. We all want different things. You can set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) or DUMB (Dream-driven, Uplifting, Method-friendly, and Behaviour triggered) goals for yourself that are in alignment with the life you want to live, but there will be people in your life who just won’t get it. “Why on earth would you want to travel there? Don’t you want to aim to be ridiculously rich? Don’t you want to live to be 100?”

If your goals are right for you, hang on to them, strive to achieve them.

My grandmother was an amazing woman who I have very fond memories of. I’m glad she got what she wanted.

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