The photos below captures the exact moment it was all over for me.
I was visiting a friend of the family’s farm in southern Oregon. It was spring, and among the many loud, adorable baby animals there was a creature seemingly designed to steal my heart. I’ve always been an animal lover. I gravitated to cats immediately; their aloof and elegant disposition flattered both my snobbery and my social anxiety. Dogs took a bit longer to win me over, but I was unable to resist their effortless optimism and affection. (Birds of all sorts seem both delicate and intimidating, like fragile dinosaurs, and I’m still not quite sure how to interact with them). But on this day, I met an entirely new creature that would change me forever.
He bounded up to me, all floppy ears and excitement, like a puppy. My mind wanted to categorize him as such, but he was something else.This frolicking, giddy thing was placed in my arms. At that moment, as he began nonchalantly chewing the scarf I was wearing, I knew what I needed in my life in order to be truly happy.
Yes. Goats. Goats are awesome. Go ahead, google “baby goats” and prepare yourself. They have all the silliness of puppies but with attitude, and they will totally headbutt you and eat your clothes.
They may not be for everyone, and I’m not here to argue otherwise. But that floppy-eared fellow gave me such a gift that day. I spent… pretty much the entirety of my twenties feeling lost. I had gradually built a life and identity for myself, but I still struggled with the question: what is it I really want? To go back to school? Get involved in politics? Start a business? Live somewhere exotic? I had so many ideas, but didn’t know how to determine what I wanted. I wast tying to plan for something, but it was like chasing a will-o’-the-wisp – I was always homeward bound, and I didn’t know where home was. And like a flash this odd little creature bestowed me with a clarity I had been grasping at for my whole adult life to that point. I knew, as if by divine inspiration, that my destiny was to raise goats.
Ok, I know how that sounds. And if you’ve read to this point, you may be concerned about both my sanity and yours as you silently beg me to get to my point. First, let me tell you what this is NOT: a holier-than-thou admonition to “follow your bliss” or “choose happiness”. I’m in no position to tell you what happiness is or how you should go about achieving it. I do believe that how you view the world can dramatically change how you experience it, and I’ll go even further and declare without shame that I believe we are all capable of doing magical and miraculous things – but I’m not blind to the world’s harshness, or the real struggles that so many of us unjustly face. If mantras, prayers, or positive affirmations could end poverty, addiction, violence, or cruelty, they would have by now. The game of life we all play is rigged from the start, and not due to any individual person’s virtues or faults. Even with the real difficulties I’ve faced at various points in my life, I am very aware that I mostly get to play life on easy mode. It’s not fair, and we must make it better.
With all that said, here, finally, is the bottom line: sometimes just knowing what you want, what delights your soul, is enough. It’s enough because it’s a start, which is infinitely better than the wasteland of indecision. The truth is, I don’t even have my herd of goats yet, and I don’t know how I’ll get there. The first step connects you to your destination, no matter how remote. The feeling of certainty about where I was headed and the calm assurance that I would arrive someday has been enough to carry me through a lot of ups and downs. As crazy as it may seem, for the first time in my life I’m not worried about having a plan or a map, because I have found my own personal (admittedly weird) compass.
I do not have a fifteen-step plan, a vision board, or a lifehack. This is not a #lifegoals kind of blog (it’s #lifegoats…. see what I did there?). What I hope to do is encourage myself – and any lovely folks who stumble across me along the way – to trust themselves. So often we talk ourselves out of loving what we love, of being honest about what really lights us up inside. It doesn’t have to be anything grand or lofty. It can even be something we’ve found already, even if we didn’t recognize it at the time. I’ve been able to use the muscle memory of that clear, singing note of “yes!” I felt in my bones when I held a baby goat to help me navigate difficult life decisions. Getting in touch with our gut-level knowledge of ourselves is, I believe key to making our life better. Who knows? It might even be what leads us to make the world a bit better too.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll tell you a little bit about who I am, things I’ve learned, crazy dreams I’m making come true, and the many (many, many) mistakes I’ve made along the way. I hope you’ll find some of it helpful, or reassuring, or challenging. It will likely evolve along the way, and I’m glad we can walk together for a little bit of our journey. There are so many adventures and surprises in store, and I’m incredibly excited to begin sharing them with you!
I don’t know how to instruct you in your pursuit of the perfect life. To be honest, I’m more interested in the good enough life. A life of intention, of simple joys, of unexpected delights. A little messiness – a chewed off corner of a scarf, the ragged little space holding a beautiful memory – is perfection itself.
I’m Liz. Welcome to Lifegoats.