The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

This strange year has taught me much about the goals that I set, and how I achieve them, and how I handle disappointment.

After I put a little free library in front of my house in the summer of 2019, my goal was rather vague but nevertheless sincere: I wanted to promote literacy in my community, especially among children. Nothing sets you up for success in life as much as becoming an avid reader from an early age. And I also wanted to pass on my love of reading to younger generations.

With that in mind, I cast about for ideas on how to draw people to my little free library. I started a Facebook group for it. I talked about it on our community page and on Nextdoor.com. I tried to set up a geocache, but there’s one nearby that refuses to move, so my geocache isn’t allowed. Drat.

Most of all, though, I wanted to make it a pokestop on the Pokemon Go application. Children love the game, and they’re drawn to pokestops within the game. I downloaded the app in August, 2019 in hopes of suggesting my library as a stop, and discovered that you can’t nominate stops until you’ve reached the highest level in the game, level 40. So my goal switched from nominating a stop to reaching level 40 so I could nominate a stop.

Every time I would advance a level in that game, I would get so excited. I was one level closer to achieving my goal! Yay, me!

But then, one day when I was around level 25, I opened the game up to discover that someone else had nominated my little free library as a pokestop! And just like that, I was cast adrift, doomed to wander the planet devoid of a goal. Woe is me.

That’s when I realized that having the goal was the thing. And having someone else achieve it for me was not nearly as satisfying. Time to set a new goal.

But who was I kidding? By then I was hooked on Pokemon Go, so I altered my goal to help feed my addiction. I decided I would still get to level 40, and make other little free libraries pokestops. Oh, and make my drawbridge a pokestop, so I could play at work. Yeah. Because with a pokestop right outside my front door, I now knew the luxury of playing at home. I may as well have that at work, too.

I had been obsessed about reaching level 40 for just over a year. Then one day, while at level 39, I found out that the good folks at Pokemon Go had decided to lower the level at which you could nominate pokestops to level 38. Woo hoo! I had arrived!

But I also kind of felt like I had been punked, or at the very least, someone had handed me a cheat sheet. Again, not nearly as satisfying. But did I start nominating stops? Heck yeah!

Now I’m waiting to see if my nominations will get implemented. New goal. They say it could take anywhere from a few days to several months. Every day, I eagerly open the app to see if they’re there. So far, nothing.

What to do while waiting? I still wanted to reach that highest level. Just to say I did. I soon realized that “just because” goals are never as much fun as regular goals.

And then, just the other day, I reached level 40. I was alone. The game does not provide you with the level of fanfare that one might expect after racking up, I kid you not, twenty freakin’ million points, but there you have it. Goal achieved.

And that same day, I learned that they’re raising the top level to 50.

I’m not sure how to feel. I’m not sure what I want to do. Now I know that I don’t thrive when deprived of closure.

But I’m going to apply my learning somehow, some way. For example, I know now that I am most happy when I’m working toward a goal. I’ve learned I need to break my goals into bite sized pieces, because gigantic goals, once achieved, can be a massive let down. I’ve learned that the goal posts can move, and that’s okay, but I’d much rather that they stay put. Short term goals are much more apt to stay put. But most of all, I learned that when I find myself adrift, I can always pick myself up and create a goal to get me heading in the right direction once again. And that’s all the closure one can expect out of life.

Who knew one could achieve so much personal growth from a computer game?

The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library! Now, there’s a goal for you! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

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