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.