I Have One Goal for 2022

What I learned after my life was turned upside down

Martina Petkova


On a trip I took with my father 3 months before he died | Image by author

In November 2020, I was looking at a cool new planner I had bought for the upcoming year and decided to try something different with goal-setting.

In the past, I would set my goals as if I was taking dictation. I wrote down things I thought I should do or want. I would set the bar too high or too low or just run in the wrong direction.

In November 2020, I took my journal and poured my soul out. I wanted to go deep, to connect to my true desires, and come up with goals that I would have endless energy and courage for. Not necessarily big or prestigious or ambitious ones. But ones that I want.

I ended up with pretty cool goals for 2021, I thought. I burned with desire for them. They looked something like:

  • Write a poetry collection
  • Write a children’s book
  • Grow a herb garden on my balcony
  • Research family history in my paternal grandparents’ hometown
  • Create cool games for the kids in the Roma community I was doing volunteer work for
  • Study the Romanes language
  • Learn horseback riding
  • Make a full-time living writing for myself

Can you guess how many of these goals I achieved?


2021 had its own goals

My planner, which I ended up stubbornly using for a couple of months before I acknowledged I should just let it go, had a weekly layout. In November 2020, I couldn’t wait to start using it. I kept looking at the first week, beginning on Monday, December 28, 2020, and just ached to start writing.

By the time December 28 rolled around, I had forgotten about the planner. Just the day before, both my parents were hospitalized with COVID-19. My father was on a ventilator. I had spent the previous week at their place, looking after them, until it became clear that they are actively getting worse. I called an ambulance for my father in the early hours of December 27. In the afternoon, I rode in an ambulance with my mother to get her checked in at another hospital. The following days were pure…



Martina Petkova

In my Medium writing, I explore the human psyche, our many contradictions, mental health, & the signs and causes of abuse. I also write about racism.