The difference between deciding upon a goal because it's what one really wants versus what one thinks will impress others, or even make them think well, she isn't a weird loser like I thought gets a bit easier as one grows older, but sometimes not. Once we're out of our twenties most of us have grown into ourselves and worry less about being misfits. But we worry about other things--are we regarded, for example, as a responsible parent? A good spouse? A successful person who has it together?
My immediately previous post is an example of said pressure. Some people can ignore these social cues to keep up--though I believe nearly every one of us has some strain of vanity--our competitive instincts say, well, if it's being held up as success, shouldn't I try too? Often we are painted into a corner because we don't want to do the really hard work of sorting out what it is we really want. Ridiculously hard even to sort it, never mind act on it, but in her post today, Communicatrix details a great first stab at doing so:
If pressed to decide the difference between chasing a thing and going after a thing, I'd say this: a chase ends up being about the chase, and less about the fox at the end of it; going after something is putting one foot in front of the other and moving towards what you want. Deliberately, thoughtfully making choices, and perhaps delaying gratification elsewhere, so that you can get to the Next Right Place you need to be.
It's a fine post with crunchy nuggets of wisdom.