Do you care more about the journey, or the destination?
I've spent a good part of my life trying to get something, get somewhere, or get someone. Like the majority of people in our Western culture, I've been very achievement-focused and goal-oriented. I believed that I could make things happen in my life by the sheer force of my will. And I was good at it. Too good, probably. So good that I tended to forget that there's just as much value (if not more) in the process as in the result.
As a teenager, I wanted to get a boyfriend, get acknowledged for my creative pursuits (music, theatre, art, writing), and get the hell out of town to "live". I got the acknowledgment, but didn't always get the boyfriend I wanted, which began a long pattern of me feeling successful professionally but not in my romantic relationships. And it took me years to get out of town; even now, I am still working on the "living" part.
In college, I wanted to have a good time, and get through it so I could get out and get a good job. I had a good time, but due to circumstances beyond my control (and OK, the fact that I really hated sitting in a classroom for the standard lecture classes) I didn't finish college beyond a 2-year degree. I did, however, get into a great computer programming certification course and that got me an entrée into the magical, lucrative world of information technology (and corporate bullshit), and an awesome career. It was a great opportunity and another "achievement", so I jumped at it without bothering to think about whether or not I even really wanted to go down that path.
In the early part of my career, each time I got a promotion, I'd immediately begin working on getting the next one. And the next. One notch on my professional belt after another. Being goal and deadline oriented really pays off in the I.T. world, and it certainly paid off for me. And by focusing on setting and achieving one goal after another, I had the added bonus of never having to think about what I really wanted my life to be, or who I wanted to be IN my life. Convenient, huh?
One day, something happened that forced a shift in my focus and in my priorities. I had a lucky break. Actually, it was a fall in my home that resulted in my leg being broken in three places. For the first time in my life, I was literally unable to "go" anywhere. There WAS no destination. Instead, I was forced to stop and sit, and I often had nothing else to do but reflect. For the first time in my life, I found myself in the process rather than racing at breakneck speed toward a destination.
Life began to be all about the journey.
Since then, it's been a slow evolution from destination to journey. I still have goals. I still want to achieve significant things with my life. But among the things I want to achieve, I now include things that are about who I'm BEING rather than just what I'm DOING; things like:
- maintaining my integrity and self-respect first and foremost;
- using my gifts to their fullest;
- learning to be in the moment and appreciate it, instead of rushing through things, trying only to get to the next moment;
- creating relationships ONLY with people who are caring, uplifting and fun to be around, rather than with people who only take and who drain my energy;
- and trusting myself to know what is best for me, rather than putting other people's good opinion or demands ahead of living my truth.
My life is by no means perfect since I shifted to focusing more on the journey than the destination. But my life makes a lot more sense now. I have more peaceful moments, more moments of clarity. I rarely have "bad days". I'm more centered and more balanced.
And I like my life a whole lot better.