Monday, November 9, 2009

It's got to be the going...

There's a line from a Harry Chapin song that Sally and I have repeated time to time through the years: It's got to be the going, not the getting there, that's good. There is much about this journey-focused sentiment that I find to be helpful. Beyond travel, the idea pertains to life in general. Indeed, I have long held that religions in particular have a tendency to fall into the trap of focusing on destinations rather than the journey, to their peril and ours.

The other morning, on an Airbus 320 climbing toward a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet, I was struggling to enjoy "the going." Perhaps that was because I've finally gotten to the place where I'm enjoying the day to day journey of my life. I really like having the opportunity to read the paper, drink coffee, feed the dogs, and write these posts. Travel has become an intrusion rather than a welcome diversion for me, especially when it is work related or done out of a sense of obligation.

Joe Dominguez, author of Your Money or Your Life, argued that our need to "vacate" was an indictment against our routine existence. Our lives lack meaning, and so we attempt to grab the gusto through vacationing, shopping, and other material pursuits. Rather than putting so much time, energy and money into trying to escape our lives, wouldn't it be great if we enjoyed what we're doing in the first place?

In the midst of my jotting down these notes on a pad during the flight, the pilot came over the intercom to announce that we had reached 37,000 feet. I remember thinking, "I'm glad we made it."

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