Find Fulfillment in the Journey
Reaching the destination - a word interchangeable with goals, milestones, places et cetera - is always bound to be satisfying. You've done it! But after that fleeting moment of satisfaction has passed you are left chasing the next thing. The following is a typical scenario, one that I found myself in too. You have just graduated high school, now you are off to university and once that is done your sight is set on finding a job and starting a career. The benefit of thinking and behaving this way is that you will always be pushing yourself to accomplish more. However, once you hit all these goals and milestones in your life you may find that you are left feeling unsatisfied or looking around for what you should be doing next.
It is easy when you are young and just starting out but what happens after you have entered the workforce? Marriage, kids, traveling? That's great. Whats after that? Do you see the problem that develops? Also what happens when things do not go according to plan? Are you ready to deal with the consequences? I am not talking about the very real risks of say not finding a job right away with bills pilling up or facing the fact that you don't have what it takes to be a lawyer, or a doctor. I am talking about the emotional consequences. The sense of failure and the confusion about what will happen next. Being flexible and realistic is always great but I think a dash of ambition and striving for something that seems out of reach at the moment is needed too.
I think a better solution is for us to find ways to enjoy the journey that may or may not lead to the destination we've imagined. I ended up specializing in Risk Management in university. A few years later here I am writing and working on my blog, working at a job that isn't exactly in my field. I always hated it when people asked me what I had studied and what I was doing now. They didn't quite match up. I felt like I had failed. Since I love what I do now I had been looking back at the four years I spent getting my degree with frustration and annoyance. Why had I wasted so much time on something I may never use? It wasn't until my husband had pointed out that not only was I being ungrateful but I was looking at it all wrong.
I had gained so many experiences during my time in university, from meeting new people, to experimenting with baking and other new hobbies. The list is endless. On a more practical level, I also gained important skills from the courses I took as well as a new perspective on business and life in general. This should have been obvious to me but it wasn't at the time. Other times when I had been focused on the destination have included freaking out while traveling that we are late, worrying that the weather will ruin everything, and wondering if I will be able to reach my goals in the future. Clearly, I have never been the one to focus on the present and appreciate the journey.
That has all changed in the last year or so when I was forced to slow down and take a deep breath. Moving across the country was never in my plan but it happened. Since I apparently have no skills at predicting the future I thought to myself I might as well enjoy my work and day to day life. So I'm no longer walking around with my To Do List, watching the clock while I frown as I rush to try to accomplish everything on "time". In a way because the pressure is off and I have silenced that nagging voice in the back of my head I have been happier. Everything can be an opportunity and a chance to learn.
I have learned that sometimes it is not your life that needs an overhaul but simply your perspective on it.
I was part of the large group of people who flocked to book stores at midnight waiting to get my hands on the latest Harry Potter book. Out of all the books I read as a child/young adult the Harry Potter books were my biggest obsession. For a long time, I would re-read the books I had over and over again prompting my father to worry about this unnatural preoccupation with the magical world.
But all obsessions fizzle out over time.
It has now been 9 years since I last read a Harry Potter book and over 12 years since I was obsessively immersed in the universe J.K. Rowling created. I have forgotten why I loved the series so much and what drew me into this series.
A while ago, I decided to re-read my favorite book series (or standalone novels) that I read when I was younger and remember fondly. I know that some books I remember solely because of nostalgia and will no longer enjoy but I also fully expect to come across books that have withstood the test of time.
The Little Things I forgot
I thought I knew the books so well that there couldn't possibly be any surprises in store for me when re-reading Harry Potter. Boy was I wrong!
"...Dumbledore had swapped his pointed wizard's hat for a flowered bonnet..."
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, pg. 203
"...Mr. Weasley had thrown himself at Mr. Malfoy, knocking him backwards into a bookshelf."
-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, pg. 63
There are plenty of other examples but they definitely surprised me and gave me a little laugh.
Differences From the Movies
Obviously, there are more details in the books. You get to spend more time with more characters in the books and learn more tidbits about the world. For instance, in the movies it always seems as though Harry, Ron and Hermione are on their own but in the books they are constantly surrounded by other friends too. When they get detention in the first book Neville is with them something they omitted in the movies. So I would argue that you can get a lot more from the books that the movies don't have time to delve into (this is usually always the case).
Things I Never Noticed
There is a lot of bias and discrimination. Teachers constantly favor certain students or punish those who have done nothing to deserve it. There doesn't seem to be any set rules for doling out punishments and rewards. These punishments can even include poisoning pets (Ex: Snape to Neville's toad) or sending off unprepared students on dangerous tasks (ex: searching for what was killing unicorns in the forest). It also seems that everyone has ganged up on Slytherins and decided they are evil from the get-go. All of these things raised many concerns and questions that had never bothered me before when I first read the series. Thus, leading me to conclude that between the discrimination, dangerous creatures, etc. Hogwarts is not the safe haven I thought it was but rather a dangerous place.
Magic might be amazing but there are many aspects of living in the wizarding world that would no longer appeal to me. For instance, I would not trade my smartphone for an owl (emailing/texting is much more efficient). Nor, would I want to go back to writing with a quill and ink on parchment. Of course, the books are set in the 90s so I am not surprised some of these issues were skimmed over/irrelevant at the time. But I do realize how outdated some wizard technology is.
I was quite surprised to find I could still enjoy this book series after so many years (and upon re-reading them so much). Of course, many adults read the series when it first came out too not just children. So, I would venture to say they have definitely withstood the test of time. Of course, I have small grievances with some of the books but overall, I loved revisiting the world of Harry Potter.