Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Your Life: Journey or Destination?

I was having a good Yule time campfire chat with one of my best friends last week, and he said something that hit me right between the eyes.

The funny thing was that I wasn't expecting it. Then his words hit me with utter force and the weight of those words have resonated with me to this day. It wasn't that they were extraordinarily profound, although his message was, but it was the timing of his words that really rang true.

And sometimes, that's how we learn best. As the old saying goes, "when the student is ready, the teacher appears"

And his message was this:

Do you look at your life as a Destination, or as a Journey?

I hadn't thought about it as such, and that was my initial reaction. Maybe I tried to dismiss it because it was a potentially threatening question to my comfort zone at Christmas Time. But the question remained the same. it didn't differ at all in its source or delivery; it was the perception of mine which gave it it's hook.

And if I had to answer the question, it was a no-brainer.

If I had to accumulate material things and get the perfect job to make the most amount of money, then my life would be a destination. It would have checkpoints and checklists on the way to my final destination. A destination that ultimately has a hollow final stopping point. -I envision that to be a deathbed of final words of regret and lamentations. Whereas you tried to be the Alpha-Male in everything to conquer all that could be conquered. But you missed the journey and life's lessons along the way because you were too busy trying to get there.

We can all relate to how a man wants to get from point A to Point B as fast as he can, and how usually the woman needs to stop and look around and enjoy the view once in a while. Well, isn't life just like that?

Life is a constant example of a choose-your-own-adventure novel. With it's choices, accountabilities, sliding doors, and pop-ups, it makes us really focus in on what's really important.

The problem is, we all get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, that sometimes we need to be reminded of what is really important to us while we are accumulating and acquiring along the way. That it needs to be said that we hold our family and friends most dear while we are trying desperately to support them financially, or any other way, is a testament to the busy world that we live in.

The journey of my life specifically, is something that I have come to understand as a set of circumstances which define the character of who I really am. Now, don't get me wrong...Just because I view it this way doesn't give me the cheat notes to the answers of life, because I can tell you that I fail a lot of those pop-quizzes that life throws at me. But it is the journey along the way that makes me get up again to fight and play while on my way to enjoy the life that I have chosen.

I really need these events, both good and bad in my life, to be the person I would want to be. A final destination is not my main concern. I know that I will eventually get there. I have faith that I will. And not the faith that most religious people might define. I am not religious, but a bit more spiritual. And if you don't have faith in God, than have faith in SOMETHING.

And even if my time is cut short and I don't get there like I thought I would, I will have the journey with all of its ups and downs, its triumphs and failures etched in my blood to say that I was there. -That I was playing in the game and not merely being a spectator, or victim.

I remember visiting Graceland the home of Elvis, and while walking through his great mansion, I caught a saying that he had posted on his wall and I thought it was so great, that I took a picture of it. This was a quote from Theodore Roosevelt

So, I would like to share this with you now:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

I especially love that last line. It really gives the whole upper quote justification, as if it needed more...

The journey of your life is up to you. It's yours to choose, yours to make, and certainly yours to control. If you accept these things and take control of your life where you once let others control your reigns, you are moving forward to the journey of life and avoiding a destination.

So enjoy your journey!! There will be pitfalls and triumphs ahead. There will be foul weather and brilliant skies, so dress accordingly. Bring your sense of adventure and have fun enjoying the only life that you have to live. -Because it really will be an amazing journey...

And looking back as an aged tired person, you can sit without regret and lamentations that you may not have made your final destination because your priorities changed, and you realized that what you were chasing was meaningless compared to the journey that your life took you on.

And as Robert Frost wrote, "And that has made all the difference..."

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