Today I am thankful for enjoying the journey.
Last year Becky decided she wanted to be crazy and complete her first marathon. I’d always told her I’d do it with her so we started training.
Believe it or not, it was AWESOME!!! We spent a ton of time training for it. Every Saturday we went on a long run together and had a great time. The time together was nothing short of fantastic. We had a chance to get away fro our lives for a little while and go back to just the two of us with no stress or concerns. Then we ran and finished the marathon. She was a champ and gritted out grueling pain from an injured knee to complete her first 26.2 mile run.
Pretty awesome accomplishment, right? I should’ve been super stoked and excited, right? Less than 24 hours afterwards I felt the opposite. I felt empty, lost, and without purpose. I had poured so much into hitting this goal and now it was gone. I had a great excuse to spend time alone with Becky every week and it was now gone. I used to have a goal and purpose that Becky and I were teamed up to hit and now it was gone.
What had happened? I was the happiest as we were in training for the goal, and I was down and depressed after we hit it. It took a while to figure it out, but now I can actually see it clearly. I was happy when I was enjoying the journey and in the present, and my happiness was gone when I had reached the destination. The journey was the reason for the happiness, not the destination. It was weird how that hit me so cleanly many months after the fact.
So how do I use this knowledge? Try as I might to enjoy the journey there is this pull to focus on the dreams and the goals I have. It’s a weird dichotomy… There almost have to be destinations to strive to go to in order to have a journey to enjoy.
Is there some trick to either moving on to the next journey very quickly to avoid the feeling of lost purpose or is it rather a need to focus on what was learned while on the previous journey? It seems like I was happy again when we had the next adventure planned and I was happy in spurts when thinking back to the fun we had training. Even as I type this I can’t help but smile thinking of some of the crazy long training runs through the bluffs.
Or is it something else? There’s a quote that’s been banging through my head for a while that seems to hold a part of the secret.
“There was a loneliness, too, as the sun set, but only rarely now did doubts return. Then I feel sinkingly as if my whole life lay behind me. Once on the mountain I knew (or trusted) that this would give way to a total absorption with the task at hand. But at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find that what I really sought was something I left behind.” Thomas Hornbein, Everest: The West Ridge
There’s something to that, though I haven’t been able to put my finger on why exactly that quote seems to strike a chord for me. One of those things that haunts and taunts as I try to grasp at it. Is it really that simple? Stay focused on enjoying the journey?
Regardless of the answer to the above thoughts, one thing is for certain. My happiest moments have been when I’ve totally focused on the present and was taking time to appreciate the journey. Today I am thankful for enjoying the journey.