“You’re going to spend more time getting there than staying there.”
This semi-awkward line is from my own book. Yes, I just quoted myself.
While the line could use some work, the wisdom behind it has been time-tested over hundreds of years. But there’s a good reason it’s still around and why I bring it up today: it’s because we need to be frequently reminded of it, which is why I put it there in the first place, albeit not so goodly.
Simply put, despite our greatest ideas, our best intentions, or knowing all the “right things”, we often too afraid to start something, or when we do, we let fear get in the way and give up. We break our streak, skip that day, quit too early, fall down or fall apart.
It happens. It happens to all of us.
As much as we sometimes wish we functioned like a well-oiled machine (like we imagine those who we admire or envy do), our humanness leads us to do otherwise. We hit bumps in the road. Things don’t go smoothly, turn out as we expected, or we fall flat on our faces. When things get especially rough, it seems everyone else in the world can carry on flawlessly while we figure out how to barely cope.
It’s part of the journey, we’ve heard it a million times. But in the midst of our struggles, we crave the destination. Fast forward through the mess and the misfortune, and get there already.
Which is why I think the destination comes with a built-in catch. You don’t get to stay there very long. Sometimes, it’s not as great as you imagined, sometimes it’s way, way better. Either way, as soon as you reach that stop, it’s time to start again on the new thing, the next thing. The view from the destination might be good, but there’s not much else to do.
That’s just the way life works. You try hard to get a great job, and once you get it, you have to do that job every day, even on the not-so-good, not-as-you-imagined days. You spend years to find and marry the love of your life, and you find that work is a daily part of the marriage equation. Even when you get what you want, you slide back into the journey mode.
I’ve found that the best part is not arriving at the destination, but when you’re getting close.
That anticipation, the glimmer of success, that feeling that your dream is possible, it’s like a parting of the dark clouds of all your hard work, with a heavenly musical number playing in the background, that’s the most fun. If I could bottle that feeling up, I’d stock up by the case, fill a few warehouses and start handing out the rest.
That part, the bestest part, though is still part of the journey. And you don’t always know when it will come. So the next best thing is to set smaller destinations along the way, the small wins, the little things, the milestones, so you can celebrate more often, and pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come no matter where you are. These small wins, these celebrations are important because they fuel you for the next part of the journey, keeping fear in its place and you moving forward.
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
I think this quote is much more eloquent. Maybe in my next book, I’ll get a little bit closer.