Reflecting on a decade of personal mission statements

On January 1, 2013, I answered the question “What is your mission?” with: To love. Laugh. Write. Share joy. Be happy. Be successful. Dream. Kick ask.* MY, but I was optimistic a decade ago. On January 1, 2022, I wrote: To survive with sanity and humanity in tact. The intervening years were a mix of hopeful statements about doing good in the world and achieving goals.

Page from a Q&A a day journal answering the question "What is your mission" from 2013 to 2017
For Christmas 2012, my little sister gifted me a small 5-year “Q&A A Day” journal. Pictured are two pages showing answers from 2013-2022, with the occasional detail redacted because I can’t be revealing all of my secrets now can I?
Page from a Q&A a day journal answering the question "What is your mission" from 2018 to 2022
Woe to you who can’t read messy cursive!

Objectively, I’ve fulfilled most of my missions these last ten years. I nailed 2014’s tenure track job goal, miraculously, and eventually completed 2016’s To Get Shit Done, by earning my pilot’s license and publishing my book 101 Pat-Downs, albeit five years later. I suspect I’ve made a difference in people’s lives—a common theme in my to-do list—although who really knows? (That I’m questioning it is just the late stage pandemic malaise talking.)

As I contemplate my mission for 2023, I’ve decided to flip 2022’s survival script to be more affirmative. My mission this year: To find ways to thrive.

I’ll be figuring out what that means, exactly, as so many of the challenges from the last several years are still with me. But one thing I know for sure: Thriving will mean less work stress. And hell, hopefully less work. I’d like to travel more, spend more time with my dear ones, and perhaps even devote extra time to exercise as allegedly that’s a good stress reducer.

Any other suggestions for a thriving lifestyle?


* Not a typo. Please enjoy one of my favorite internet videos: “Little girl wants to kick ask”

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