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Life Is The Journey, Not The Destination

Ever notice that we’re more excited about going on holiday than when we actually get there? For the months, weeks and days before, it’s all we talk about. It started with the holiday brochure with a location that looked amazing. Then it came to making and putting the money aside to pay for it. Then there were the clothes, the sunscreen, the passport, and all we’ll need when we get there. Then there’s the great feeling of going to the airport knowing the good times are only hours away.

Yet, when we get there, amazing and all as the location might be, that excitement fizzles a little. Suddenly the new surroundings begin to feel normal to us. And before you know it, we’re depressed knowing that in a few days we’ll be back to normal life again.  

It’s like something that the great Earl Nightingale once said. Children are happier on Christmas Eve than they are on Christmas night. And it’s so true. That one night of magic that they looked forward to for a good part of the year is gone for another year. – And those toys that looked amazing in their boxes, lose their shine a little now that we have them. 

Yet we all want the destination. We want the money, the car, the infinity pool, the huge following, the awards, but when we get there we’re like those kids on Christmas morning. Is this it? Shouldn’t I feel amazing now? Shouldn’t there be fireworks, a Hollywood movie end scroll, or a least a marching band?

But there’s not. It’s just us in a new destination. The same old us but in a different place. And even if it does make our hearts skip a beat, the normality of this new level will become normal once more. And dare I say it, boring after a while. 

Back when I heard someone say that ‘Life is a journey and not a destination,’ I maybe like you, nodded my head in a knowingly way and agreed with them. But my attention was more on the mention of the destination than the journey.  Forget the journey, forget carrying the bags, forget the discomfort. Tell me more about this destination you talk about. – And I’d mentally transport myself there, to that magical beach moment when everything’s paid for and I’m looking at an endless perfect sunset. 

But you can’t get to the destination if you’re not willing to do the legwork. The goal isn’t going to come to us. And the odds of winning the lottery aren’t stacked in our favour. So we need to do the packing, the carrying, go through moments of being lost, of getting angry with our travelling partners, to get to the place we’ve always dreamed of.

The problem is, a lot of us never get there. 

We put ourselves in the wrong vehicle. We think there’s an express pass. We think that if we believe enough, standing at the front door, we can transport ourselves there. And we copy what family and friends do, thinking that if we can stomach that bad job long enough, eventually it’ll all work out. 

But we find that the gap never closes. That life doesn’t have a cheat code, The thought without action is just thought. And that those people we thought knew better, were just copying off someone else’s page. And so we give up. It was a nice idea, but that happy moment isn’t going to come, we tell ourselves. 

And all because we thought the destination was going to be the end-all, not realizing that the fun is actually in the journey itself. That the journey is what we do every day. And that the goal in life is travelling in a way that makes you happy. It’s picking walking, instead of flying, because we enjoy it more even though it’s slower.

 It’s knowing that there’s no rush because when you get to your destination they’ll be another place you’ll want to go to. It’s knowing that we all start off in different places, so copying someone else’s map is useless to us. It’s remembering that you mightn’t make it to the place you’re going to, so why take time to talk to the people you meet along the way. That those people are on their own journeys and may only share the road with us for a day or two. 

Life is a journey, rather than a destination. But maybe if we looked at every day as a destination, rather than something that should be skipped over. We’d be happier.  Because none of us knows how much gas was in the tank when we set off. So why put off our happiness for a magical moment that we may never reach?

Life is a journey. Maybe it’s time we pay more attention to that and enjoy that part, and let the destination take care of itself.

Happy travels!

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