Let your joy be in your journey – not in some distant goal.
Recently, I found myself thinking about a time some fifty years ago, when the interstate highway system that crisscrosses our country was mostly in the planning stage. When you traveled back then, you had to pass through all the small towns with their unique personalities. There were lower speed limits and plenty of red lights that slowed you down enough to glimpse the individual flavor of the towns. Contrast that with the way we experience travel today. We bypass most small towns. Even when we drive through larger cities, we rarely slow down. We follow the signs and speed ahead to our destination.
For those of you who have never experienced the slow, deliberate journey through picturesque villages and glimpsed a totally different way of life, you truly have missed a pleasant experience.
Most of us are harried, rushing so much that it seems foolish to think about making a trip that might take hours longer, experiencing the frustration of driving on rural highways and the slow plodding through countless small towns. I’ll be the first to admit to wanting to get where I’m going as quick as I can, with as few hassles as possible. But what I find troubling is that we carry this mindset over to other parts of our lives.
Isn’t that exactly what we do in life? Rush through as fast as possible, not taking the time to see the unusual? We’re in such a hurry to get there (wherever “there” is) that we forget to enjoy the journey. We’re fixed on the destination.
But life is a journey. The end is a destination we all must face one day. But what happens along the way is what counts. It makes no sense to be so intent on reaching the destination that we don’t enjoy life. But that’s exactly the way most of us live.
So what’s the lesson here? Simply this: we’re trying to do too many things, so we do most of them in a superficial way. We rush through so many experiences that they become a blur. We only have a surface knowledge of most things we experience. Wouldn’t it be better to do fewer things but experience the things we do in greater depth? Wouldn’t we be better, more interesting, more fulfilled people if we concentrated our time and energy on fewer activities but went much deeper into the activities we chose to pursue?
Life is a journey; savor it. Don’t spend all your days on a highway that bypasses the most interesting things in life. Take your time and enjoy the view.
Aim for the sky, but move slowly, enjoying every step along the way. It is all those little steps that make the journey complete.
Copyright © 2021 John Chancellor