I’ve heard the saying, “It’s the journey not the destination,” I don’t know how many times, but it’s still a conscious effort for me to put into practice.
I like to check things off the list, tell stories about accomplishments and work for the bigger, faster, stronger American way. However, the older I get the more I start to realize that once I check the accomplishment off the list or get the bigger promotion, there is always one more thing.
My family and I recently packed up for the weekend to drive four hours and seven minutes, according to Google Maps, to see my newest niece. Granted, driving with a four year old and a five month old adds a little bit of time, so we were happy to make it in six, or seven plus on the return leg.
I easily found myself defaulting to push through the trip, but you can’t keep pushing when your infant daughter is screaming to be breast fed.
So we stopped various times to have lunch, play at the park and enjoy a Norwegian restaurant with the best pie in the midwest. And I found that there were times on this stop where if I let go and realized how small I was, looking out at the raging freeway or the relaxed locals on the swings, that we were right were we were supposed to be.
My four-year old easily enjoyed the journey, getting out of the car and making a quick friend on the old-school wooden teeter-totter, the kind that smack you in the ass if you’re not careful. His newfound friends even wished him well and said come back soon as we packed up to get back on the road.
We found things to laugh at, like this tarp rigged trailer flapping in the headwind:
To get the full effect, you’ll have to see the video, but one minute I was griping about how we should have departed earlier to get home before dark. The next minute, we were rolling about this rigged trailer’s tarp flapping in the wind, enjoying the journey.
There’s a certain humor to life and the fact that we aren’t in control. When I really think about it, what do I have control of exactly? It’s easy for me, and in fact my default is to want to check things off the list and get stuff done.
But what I often find is that rather than revel in the thing that was checked off the list, I push myself to look toward the next thing. What’s the next mile marker, how many miles left to go and what needs to be done when we get there.
How does this affect my family? How can I enjoy just rolling along the highway and flapping in the breeze?