Goals define an aspect of humanity that differentiates from the beast; just look at nature and the existential encounter with the “now” at all times. Animals besides Man look at the world around and respond appropriately and accordingly. For them, the future is the now; the past is merely a basis upon which to react in this moment of time; and what the appetitive parts of the soul require, the predator attempts to satisfy.
Goals, on the other hand, project into the future. They require plans, painted by hopes and dreams, and follow upon the trail of golden dust left in residue by the wings of flying angels fluttering by to whisper thoughts of tomorrow and beyond the mortal constructs of our everyday lives. Reality, of course, dashes those very hopes and dreams, and places obstructions to prevent the accomplishments of those very goals we set.
Humans love projects – whether because of Heidegger’s cynical view that we engage in them merely to avoid thinking about our own destiny to nothingness and annihilation, or merely because that is who we are: sentient beings who can only be content by projecting into futures yet unrealized, such that our potentiality is always in the molding and making each moment of our lives.
What makes us tick? Who are we? What imprint do we want to leave to better the world before we depart? What can we do to make the old lady across the way find a moment of happiness, disrupted because of tragedies felt and experienced in private lives of living hell? What inventions, refinements and accomplishments may we reach before we depart this earth? What is our 5, 10, 20 year plan – sort of like those old Russian declaratives in meeting thresholds of farm output in a communal setting of common goals defined?
We may scoff at them, but we all engage it: Goals in our personal lives, and endured throughout our professional capacity. The corollary, of course, is that those who set goals also experience the failure of having not met them. That is the Yin Yang principle of life. Being and Nothingness; Life and Death; Happiness and Misery; Goals and Failures.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the bitter taste of failing to meet professional goals is bundled up with complexity of emotional turmoil when a medical condition cuts short the career goals of the Federal or Postal employee.
Accepting the shortness of meeting those goals often extends, unwisely, the point at which the Federal or Postal employee should be filing a Federal Disability Retirement application. Yet, that is simply part of being “human” – of exerting self-will beyond what is good for one’s self; of ignoring pain and anguish and just continuing to engage despite self-harm; and always attempting to “meet those goals” despite all cautionary indicators telling one otherwise. But health is what should be the goal, now, and not the completion of those projects that we believe only we can accomplish.
Life will go on; and failing to meet those goals should never be the final impediment to the ultimate goal one should prioritize: Of health, life, happiness and family, somewhat in the order stated.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire