Changing One’s Spots – Is it Possible to Learn to Enjoy the Journey?

This is not my photograph, I am respectfully using it for my blog.

This is not my photograph, I am respectfully using it for my blog.

When I talk to friends and strangers (who are really just new friends) about my upcoming trip, I hear a lot of the same comments:

  • “I cannot imagine just being able to do what I want?”
  • “How nice it will be to make your own schedule.”
  • “All that free time, what are you going to do with it?”

And so on…As I talk about this trip with people you can see them drift into their own imaginary world of “What if”. What if I did not have to go to my job anymore? What if could travel to wherever I wanted? What if the constraints of everyday life were gone or, at least, altered?

Many people say they envy me or are jealous of me for making this trip. Many others wish they could come with me. I understand completely what they are saying. I am blessed to be able to do this trip, but I have a confession to make. I do not know how to live this new life. I am as full of wonder as they are.

Like most everyone I know, I have worked most of my life, sometimes two jobs at one time. I have spent most of my life at the whim of other people’s schedules and deadlines. Heck, I have only taken a handful of vacations in my 53 years. I am not a world traveler; I have barely left the county I live in for several years.

One of the main purposes of this trip for me is to learn enjoy life and live in the present. I truly have no clue how to do that. I realize that I never watch sunsets or really stop and smell the flowers as I am always on my way to someplace else. Whatever I am doing right now does not matter because my mind is however many steps ahead, thinking about the next project to complete. Checking of tasks on my To-Do List has always been my goal, not enjoying the journey.

Enjoy the journey. What does that even mean? It always just seemed like one of those things you say that has no real meaning, just hollow words meant to make someone feel better. Then one day I decided to take my own advice and learn to enjoy the journey. I do not think it comes that easy to most of us who are used to dealing with daily responsibilities. It has to be a learned behavior, like walking and talking.

I am not naïve enough to think that this trip is going to be all kittens and rainbows. There is going to be stress to deal with, things are going to go wrong because they always do, money is going to be tight and I will still be worrying about what is happening on the home front. I may not be clocking into a specific workplace, but I plan to work on this trip. I need to work on changing my entire thought process, change my entire life. That, my friends, sounds like work to me.

I am scheduled to leave on my trip in seven days. In the meantime, I am still working, getting my things together for the trip, preparing the house and taking care of some things that have to be done before I leave. In other words, I am not in “Enjoy the Journey” mode yet. I am still in “Get it all Done at Any Cost” Mode.

I hope I can do this trip justice. I am banking on it for so many realizations that I need to have in my life. I want this to be a Spiritual journey, a journey into living with and on less, a journey of helping others, and all around general learning how to live a more gracious life. I hope I can live up to the goals I have set for myself without making the goals the destination. I hope I can actually learn to enjoy the journey, enjoy the day, and be honestly present for once in my life. Like I said before, I have no idea how to do this but I have to give it a try!

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