Journeys

Sometimes, you write something that seems profound at the time.

FaceBook reminded me that one year ago, I wrote this:

“Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. Sometimes the destination doesn’t matter. Sometimes even the journey doesn’t matter. Only the company. And getting there is not half the fun. It’s not even the point. That’s when you know you have arrived. “

I re-shared that memory, with this comment:

I think I had too much beer when I wrote this… cos I don’t remember WTF I was talking about. If I have arrived, my luggage got lost in transit. Or maybe my luggage arrived and I’m lost in transit.

Which goes to show, the most profound thoughts, the greatest enlightenment, is probably best achieved under the influence. Of something.

Which is why we haven’t banned alcohol.

But I wrote that first bit just after my wife’s and daughter’s birthday (their birthdays are just a few days apart), and I was probably in awe of my (then) 1 year-old daughter’s amazing development over just one year, and my wife’s inexplicable decision to marry me (and continued presence by my side).

And I didn’t planned for this. At least not in this way. If at all.

Life is a journey.

But it is only when we look back at the end of the journey that we understand the story, that it all makes a kind of sense.

It occurred to me (and Shakespeare?) that the “best laid plans of mice and men” will also be splattered by whatever hits the fan.

Millionaire by 30? Retire by 35? Married with children by 35?

Are those plans or life goals?

Or not even?

Hey, if my plans had worked out, I would be a world renowned author with a million books sold by now. Instead, I’m a part-time blogger with blogs nobody reads.

(Sorry, didn’t mean to call you – the reader – a “nobody”. I bet your dream was to be a respected and respectable literary critic, instead of a reader of blogs written by a nobody. Hey!  We can pretend! Or in an alternate universe, we are exactly who we dream we are! OK. back to reality – beyond the parentheses.)

The point is, when we are young, we make plans. Or we dream. And we define our life goals. We define what success in life means. And we say to ourselves, and maybe to others, “when I’m 35, I will have achieved this, and this will be what I mean by Success.”

And because life is reality, and because reality is cold and impartial, and because life and reality really don’t give a about your plans and dreams, most of us don’t even get close to our “life goals”.

But that is okay. (Said the nobody blogger).

Most of us (if not all of us) wanted to be better looking, lighter, or stronger, or fitter, married earlier, happier, had children earlier, imagine ourselves as better parents, better buddies to our kids, have jobs we loved (instead of ones we barely tolerate), be our own bosses (instead of having bosses who, well, we would fire if we could), be paid better, or earn more, have a bigger home, flashier cars, or brand name handbags, designer shoes (I’m sorry, I do not know what women really really want, except stereotypically), look 10, 20, 30 years younger. Whatever.

I believe that if you really want wealth and material success, and are willing to do anything to get it, you can get it. I really believe it.

The key is, “do anything”.

And a few other life goals or definition of success can also be achieved if one is also willing to do anything.

The point – or problem – is, most of us aren’t willing to do ANYTHING to get what we want. Sometimes ANYTHING might mean hard work. VERY hard work. Excessive and obsessive amount of hard work.

Because we are lazy?

That’s only part of it.

It’s not just effort, but sacrifice of time, and everything else.

Everything else could be everything that makes life worth living – Family, friends, social connections, hobbies, interests, passions.

Because we define ourselves by more than our wealth and material success. Well, except for Donald Trump.

We are all complex people, with different needs, sometimes conflicting wants and dreams and desires. We want to be rich, but we also want to sleep in. We want to be loved, but we also want our private time. We are (well, most of us) a mess of contradictions, and inconsistencies.

And because of how we are, we respond to life with a certain amount of unpredictability, randomness, and inconsistency. Most of the time, no single decision will alter the course of your life dramatically, and irrevocably.

Most of the time.

But there are life-changing moments of course. Like getting married. Having children. Changing jobs. Buying a car. Having a mid-life crisis, or how you respond to a mid-life crisis.

Life is about how we respond to the various demands on our time, effort, resources, and passion.

Some people see life as a guided tour – there is a plan, an itinerary, a list of “must-do”, or “must-see”, or a bucket list. A friend of mine (which reminds me, haven’t seen him in a while) likes to say, “failing to plan is planning to fail”.

To which I say, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans.”.

No. I didn’t say that to him. Then.

Even now, I don’t exactly disagree with him.

I think life is a mix of both. You (need to) make plans. But you also need to have the flexibility to respond to life, to the moment, to the now. And not be stuck to the plan when you need to be flexible, and not be blowing in the wind when you need to have a plan.

Life is the like first 10 minutes of “Up!”. (Here watch it, while it’s on YouTube.

They (Carl & Ellie) had plans. But life had… other plans.

Life is a journey. And the journey is more important than the destination. Because in a sense, we all have the same final destination. It is what we do on the journey that gives our lives meaning, and purpose.

We all die.

And we are all alive right now. (Unless ghosts have internet access and are reading this.)

But we live different lives.

Each day we have choices to make – do I spent time with my daughter, or work a little later? Do I try to cook something new for dinner, or do I just do the same thing because new things are just too hard, or too troublesome?

It is our choices that makes our lives different. And it is our choices that give our lives meaning.

“Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. Sometimes the destination doesn’t matter. Sometimes even the journey doesn’t matter. Only the company. And getting there is not half the fun. It’s not even the point. That’s when you know you have arrived. “

 

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