While our friends in the Southern hemisphere are enjoying springtime… we had to change our clocks this weekend in Europe to “normal time”, which is kind of a reminder that it is mid-autumn in the Northern hemisphere. And the stormy weather we had during the weekend confirmed it too!
When I discovered the word JOURNEY, I was fascinated by it. I still am. When I saw it in a school book the first time, I assumed that it was the translation of the french word “journée” (day) but from the context, I understood that JOURNEY could mean something bigger. It felt a bit abstract but could also mean a trip I was taught. The word has in fact the same etymological root as “journée”, still its definition is not necessarily limited to a 24-hour period. That’s why I like this word. It makes me dream, it gives me wings, it opens unknown possibilities. Well, maybe I made my own romantic definition of the word… If you like it, you can adopt it too ;-).
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “life is a JOURNEY, not a destination”. I think we need to be reminded of this once in a while instead of all the time running from one destination to the next, from one project to the next, from one report to the next, etc. As human beings we do like to divide a whole lifetime in smaller amounts of time maybe to have a better grasp of these smaller time intervals: decades, years, quarters, months, weeks, days, hours, seconds… The mathematicians with their structured way of thinking 😉 also made sure that numbers would help us to keep track of these different time intervals. Maybe we would be disoriented otherwise, who knows?
“Life is a JOURNEY, not a destination” can be interpreted as a healthy balance between doing and being, between planning and letting go, between producing results and going through the required processes. Our society with its speed in production, information, travelling, etc. teaches us that it is possible to get something/anything in the blink of an eye. So we become impatient when it takes too long to get that something. All the while we forget to look around us for e.g. a friendly encounter, a helpless fellow, an inspiring act of generosity… all these small things that can give an adventurous touch to our lifes and even enrich our path if we are open to it.
If each of us would share our life’s JOURNEY, we would all have different reference points because we all made different experiences. Some will explain time periods as “before X and after X” because X was a key experience, something that strongly defined their life. Others will have reference points related to the many destinations they have reached, to the various jobs they have been holding, to the children they have, etc. There are no rules for these reference points. When I was a kid, I thought the most important reference point was going to be at 18 – the age that was going to officially split childhood and adulthood. And I had the impression that once an adult, my life would be set (and perfect!) forever: a job, a house, a partner, children, etc…
While there was nothing wrong with that (again!) romantic view, I realised that the courageous, surprising, brave, unpredictable twist of the JOURNEY was not included. And over the years, I also learned that we have a lot of freedom to shape our own JOURNEY! Of course, it means that it brings along responsibilities (we are adults after all ;-))… and also happiness if we allow it. In the different roles that we hold (parent, boss, sports coach, sibling, employee, etc.), we inevitably support and influence people around us on their own JOURNEY. Still it is important to stay on our own path. With that I mean: please refrain from the temptation to fix someone else’s JOURNEY. If you believe that’s your destination to happiness… I’m sorry to say that the opposite may just happen.
And when we decide to look at our own JOURNEY as a whole, we put together the seconds, the hours, the days, the weeks, the months, the quarters, the years and the decades together. And I like to think that all these time intervals just “flow” into each other. They don’t “run” into each other. So there is no need to rush from one destination to the next!
I want to wish you a “bonne journée” on your life’s JOURNEY!