They say that many things in life are about the journey and not the destination. This has always been a tough piece of advice for me to follow. Generally, I’m a goal-oriented person; there is nothing more satisfying to me than being able to cross something off of my list and start planning the next. However, there gets to be a certain point where you really miss out if you’re always looking ahead to the next thing. At least that’s what I try to tell myself. It’s something I’m constantly working on.
I’m in a weird place in life right now; somewhere between the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. I’m starting to realize that it’s not such a bad thing. Times of transition can certainly be difficult, especially if you’re working towards something really big that you’ve wanted for a long time. At the same time, I am finding that there is something really exciting about the buildup towards a final goal or achievement.
As I look back at my fairly short life, I have noticed that many of my fondest memories are of times I was in the trenches of working toward something (high school, college, planning trips, wedding planning, job searching, apartment hunting, etc.) There is something very heart-stirring about living on the horizon of possibility. When something hasn’t happened yet, it gives you that much more time to daydream, plan, and imagine what could be – and often helps you work harder to make that destination even better when you do get there. More importantly, you usually meet amazing people along the way who make the journey an experience worth remembering and you learn things about yourself through each twist and turn that make you a better, stronger, and wiser person at the end of the road.
The journey I am currently on is coming to a close. It is becoming ever more apparent with each passing day. This morning, as I woke up in this town that has been my home for these past five years and walked to my favorite coffee shop, I realized how important it is to savor what is left of this time because it’s a time we will never go back to. Don’t get me wrong; I’m more than ready. We have definitely outgrown this stage of life and it’s time for change – but while I’m still here, I plan to embrace this state of being in transit, because truth be told, it’s pretty cushy right now. Things are winding down at my job and Dakota is quickly approaching the finish line of his degree. We have so few items left in our apartment that they could be swept away in the back of a pickup truck in one trip…and we still have a few weeks before we start the grueling visa process.
Moving abroad will be the adventure of a lifetime, but it will also be a lot of work. We will have to deal with getting our documents in order, moving, getting settled, culture shock, a new language, planning for our first big teaching jobs and an abundance of extracurricular activities. In the meantime, our evenings have been filled with quiet time together, walks around town, video games, the occasional movie, and big, big dreams for the future. I’ve really enjoyed the peace and quiet as Emporia life fades to a close, and I know these quiet evenings with just the two of us will be coming to an abrupt end much sooner than we think. We will be living our families this summer and with staff and students at our school after that, so I want to enjoy it while it lasts.
I want to make sure I do this journey justice by ending it on a high note and not getting too caught up in starting the next one.
So for those of you on your own journeys, whether they are just beginning, halfway over, or coming to an end, don’t forget to take a moment to stop and appreciate where you are and where it has taken you so far. Recognize that wherever you are right now, no matter how badly you might want that time to be over and how much you think it sucks, has something to offer you in the long run. In fact, it is often in the midst of a journey that we discover new fates, plans, and dreams that we never considered before that take our lives in a new and unexpectedly awesome direction.
Be content where you are and soak it in, even if it’s just for a minute or two. It will make it that much sweeter in the end.