There Is No "There"

Whenever I'm creating a blog header for a client, I love taking a minute to peek at their blog and get an idea of what they're all about. Sometimes a minute turns into an hour when I'm captivated by their writing. This piece by Dana of Lavender Moon really resonated with me. Dana was kind enough to let me share it with you here:

I've always struggled with the phrase "it's about the journey, not the destination." I mean I get it - stop and smell the roses, enjoy the process, yadda yadda. But who, when going on a tropical fantasy vacation, has ever said "oh yes, this plane ride right here is where it's at"? Who has ever been patient enough to savor the TSA patdowns and the no-liquids rule when they KNOW that sunshine and sandy beaches are just a few hours away? Let's be real - sometimes the journey sucks. When you have a goal in mind, you want to GET THERE, whether it actually is a physical place or a state of being. Save the airline peanuts - gimme those palm trees.

Here's the thing about me: I can't stand being bad at something. At anything at all. This is pretty unfortunate when you consider that I AM bad at many things (cooking, every sport in existence, video games, driving and really anything else that requires fast reflexes, you get it.) I'm incredibly impatient and I've given up on so many big dreams because I didn't want to put in the time it takes being bad at something in order to get good at it. I'm not interested in the journey. I want the destination and I want it NOW. 

...if we’re constantly looking at the destination and lamenting the journey, we’re gonna be doing a whole lot of lamenting.

The only things I have practiced enough to get good at all happened by accident. I got good at tarot because I didn't take it seriously when I started. I got good at doing winged eyeliner because I sure as heck wasn't gonna leave the house without makeup on, so it had to be done. I got good at playing guitar because my parents made me practice a half hour every day even though I cried and threw tantrums and threatened to run away from home. They didn't make me do that with the violin, which I only played for about three weeks before I got tired of how much it made my arms hurt. Or with drawing, which I gave up after sketching my first sad-looking anime eye and realizing I wasn't immediately going to be publishing a manga. I'm not a professional ballerina because I didn't want to be the oldest kid in the class, I've never learned martial arts because I didn't want to embarass myself, and - to my constant chagrin - I'm still not a yogi because UGH, I have to actually practice if I want to be bendy. Forget it, right?

There's two things about this. First, as you might have gathered, if I had just stuck with these things when I first started them - if I had accepted that my violin was going to sound like a drowning cat for a while, if I had recognized that this was inevitable, if I hadn't let my weak noodle arms get me down - I'd be good at them by now. And I'd probably have killer biceps. The second thing, though, is that say I got there - say I did practice violin every day and I'm now touring the world performing for thousands of people every night. What next? Do I do nothing but play violin for the rest of my life? Do I never develop new interests or hobbies? Do I never get good at anything else?

No matter what your goal is, no matter if you reach it or not, there's always going to be a next one. That's a good thing! It doesn't mean we'll never be happy with our lives. It's actually been scientifically proven that we, as humans, are happier when we're striving towards a goal. But what it DOES mean is that if we're constantly looking at the destination and lamenting the journey, we're gonna be doing a whole lot of lamenting.

So what do we do? I'm always going to be an impatient person; you should see me waiting for the mail when I've got a package on the way. But the trick is to not think of it in terms of destination vs. journey. The journey, in many ways, IS the destination. Every step you take is a step towards your goal, and even if you stumble or take a step back, you don't give up the knowledge and experience you've gained so far. Every time you draw one of those anime eyes, you're better than you were the last time (thank goodness.)

The pressure you feel to be good right away is coming from your own high standards

Let the destination be that one step. Let your goal be to try. Don't look at it as being bad at something - look at it as DOING something. Being bad at writing still makes you a writer. You can still call yourself a dancer if you're a very bad dancer. And if you're looking for permission to call yourself a tarot reader - I'm here to tell you that if you're using those cards, even if you have to check the book every time, even if you can't tell the Fool from the Four of Swords - you're reading tarot. There's no shame in being bad - we all know this, but everyone is bad at something when they first start out. The pressure you feel to be good right away is coming from your own high standards. Go ahead and claim that label for yourself. Tell any gatekeepers to kiss your buns. The only prerequisite for calling yourself a do-er is to do. 

The thing is, life doesn't end when you reach your goal. There's no parade, no cash prize, no high-five from the universe. In fact, you might not even notice when you reach it. Maybe your goal is to save a thousand dollars and that's pretty concrete, but how do you know when you're finally good at something? What does it look like to "get there?" Most of the time, I think, we spend so much time trying to "get there" only to realize we've been chasing a rainbow. There is no "there"; there's only life and what happens along the way. Delight in that. Be bad until you're good. And then go ahead and be bad at something else.


Good stuff, right?
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