When you really think about it, there are only two reasons why you do any of the things you do: Either you want the destination, or you love the journey.
And to live any kind of a life, you need both. Firstly, you need a bare minimum of certain “destinations” – like physical health, for instance – to avoid literally dropping dead. You need some money, some shelter, some food, some water. Without these destinations, it can be very difficult to enjoy the journey, no matter how hard you try.
But then to avoid misery and depression, you also need to take a certain amount of joy in the journey. Without this, all the destinations in the world mean nothing. Your life becomes hollow and meaningless.
Sometimes, the Gods smile upon you, and you find yourself in a situation that automatically combines the two. Perhaps you love your job whilst you’re doing it, and you get well-paid for it, or you receive adulation for it, or you feel as though you’re doing something really positive in the world.
This is rare, though. More often, there’s a trade-off required, and you have to make a choice. Life asks you to demonstrate which is most important to you – reaching a particular destination at all costs even if it saps the joy out of the journey, or taking joy in the journey at all costs even if it means you don’t eventually reach that particular destination.
I think most of us, when push comes to shove, tend to favour the destination over the journey. On the surface it seems more sensible, more responsible, more logical. But my God we are such idiots whenever we do this.
If you reach a specific destination but forfeit taking any joy in the journey, how do you expect you’ll feel when you get there? Happy? Fulfilled? Like it was worth all that misery? I doubt it.
On the other hand, if you do take joy in the journey, then isn’t it quite likely that you’ll feel pretty good about wherever you end up, whether it was your original intended destination, or somewhere else entirely? I know I do.
If you want joy, find it in the journey. Let the destination be the cherry on top.
PS: In case you were wondering, they let me have one more of my fingers back at the hospital today. Eight out of ten ain’t bad.