Laying Tracks for the Journey
“Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.
So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?
…beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life.” — Hunter S. Thompson, via Farnam Street
“Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
How do we want to live? Why don’t we ask ourselves this more often? We keep adding to our collection of more (experiences, relationships, stuff, distractions) in hopes that we’ll eventually find all the answers. If we look up from our own reflection long enough we might notice that everyone else is trying to figure it out too.
There’s a gap that emerges between people as they each follow their own path. Sometimes the path intersects again, sometimes the path diverges and you grow further apart. And sometimes one or both parties decide to find a new path together, come what may. This itself is a decision. We can’t have it all, yet we have that nagging voice that whispers that we might. At some point, we’ve got to stake our claim on a way of life that feels right for us.
We owe it to ourselves to seek as much experience as we can, that we might draw from each some nugget of how we might want to live. That collection of more isn’t so bad after all, so long as we’re collecting the things that determine our desired future state. More ought to be railroad ties to lay our tracks upon, not driftwood.
It always comes back to how we want to live in this moment in our lives, but also (if we dare) in our next moment. With an optimistic eye towards the future, we might pivot towards something more, or pause in more of the same. Of course there is no stasis, the world will keep moving whatever we decide on. We can’t expect the train that just left the station to come back to get us. But maybe that wasn’t the track we were meant to go down anyway. While we don’t always know our destination, pointing ourselves in a direction that feels right is a way to break free of indecision towards discovery.
It’s always been about the journey, hasn’t it?