I was recently talking with a friend of mine about the importance of goals. Actually, it was more like he was reminding me of the importance of having goals in life.
I had come to the realization that I was just sort of bored with life. I had become very content with life and found myself coasting along in a comfort zone. I think the boredom got me thinking along the lines of "Hmmm... would it even matter if I died right now? I'm actually happy and content, so wouldn't now be a good time to die rather than when I'm old and feeble and struggling to survive." Anyhow, no, I wasn't suicidal - it was more just a casual thought - exploring the whole concept of the point of life and death and what not. But, it did make me realize I was missing something - I don't think it's normal to be content or ok with the idea that it would be fine if I died in a car crash on the the way home from work - like there's nothing that would be left undone or unfinished.
And that's where my friend's comment about goals made me realize the problem. I no longer had any goals! I was no longer challenging myself - instead I was just living a comfortable life.
So, I'm now in the process of setting some goals. And this brings up the topic of a worthwhile video to watch if you have the time. If you haven't already seen it, and you have an hour to spare, check out the "last lecture" by Randy Pausch on the subject of "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.". You can view it here.
If you haven't heard of Randy Pausch, he was a Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor who had been diagnosed with a terminal case of pancreatic cancer in 2007. Late last year he gave a lecture as part of series where the person giving the talk was asked to present what they thought would be most important if this were to be their last lecture they ever gave. In his case, the theme of the lecture series was not so hypothetical. He passed away today.