There is a structural weakness to goal setting practices. For if you can articulate a goal from the start, then go through the motions, and hit the mark, you’re probably using a borrowed framework. You’re playing someone else’s game.
Sure, you might win, with luck and discipline. Like there’s always a winning horse in a race. But that’s not my gig. Instead, I try acting first, clumsily, messing with the concrete – hoping the goal will reveal itself afterwards, retrospectively. I find it more human.
It is difficult to wander aimless. After a long day working on a theatre project, I felt a need for rest in the evening. It was a bodily need – I spent the day in all sorts of postures, standing, sitting, lying, but never moving quite enough. It was a mental need – I spent the day exploring, testing, detecting and exploring situations, tensions, patterns and rhythms, but never quite stood on stable ground.
Evening strolls are a treat, and one of the joys of living in the Melbourne CBD. I can walk by the boutiques and theatres of Collins Street, by the souvenir shops and sushi joints of Swanston street, among the bustle of Chinatown, or past sophisticated bars and designer shops in the laneways. I’m a few minutes away from the riverbank, and not much further from three gardens, Carlton, Fitzroy, or Alexandra.
Yet somehow, getting out of the house can be difficult. After six years, novelty’s worn off. Simply walking around is not enough. I need a goal. The goal does not impose itself. Landmarks are too many. There is no lighthouse calling, no city walls to circle, no Belvedere to climb. Daily life is so pleasant that I miss neither nature, nor people.
So, to get myself out, I revert to more primal states. Hunt and gather. I went out, looking at restaurants offering Chinese hot pot and Japanese ramen. Past cocktail bars and dingy bottle shops. Past 7/11 and Asian cake shops. Then stopped at the nearby Woolworths Metro supermarket, and bought a pack of ice cream, on special.