Enjoying the Journey

Life is not fair. Those who do the best work aren’t always the one’s who get rewarded for their efforts.  Life is not built on a merit system like we are brought up to believe with our school system (work hard and you earn good grades).  We are all working so hard to reach a state of the “perfect” life situation, but the truth is that image you have in your mind of what the “perfect” life would be does not actually exist.  There are probably a million things that you have forgotten to factor into your personal fantasy.  And all those little pesky details are probably the best parts.  Besides, is living that easy-life really what you want? 

In my experience, the best things in life ALWAYS take work and effort.  The “easy life” is an oxymoron that tricks people into trying to be something that isn’t natural.  I am from a generation that has learned to “pursue your passions” and “find a way to do what you love for a living and you’ll be happy”.  But it just isn’t that simple.  Even if you find a carrier that encompasses everything you enjoy, once it becomes your means of paying the rent, you are bound to have days when you just don’t feel like doing it.

You can never escape the responsibilities of life. So rather than trying find something you love to do, wouldn’t it be more beneficial in the long run to learn to love the things you have to do?  If you learn to love the short walk to the curb once a week to take the trash out, it doesn’t feel like such a chore that you want put off until the last minute.

Life is not just a simple input-output machine.  I believe it is wrong to expect specific results/reactions to my efforts/actions.  The process of choosing and implementing my actions should be the reward itself.  They are not separate events.  Cooking dinner is not the effort required  for a reward of good food, but rather, cooking dinner is the action and the reward (getting to cook dinner).  This is then followed by eating dinner being the action (effort of eating) and reward (nourishing my body).

There is no difference between the action and the reward.  They are the same thing. Every moment is living an action/reward pair to be enjoyed to its fullest.  Doing good, hard work is reward in itself because you know you can do it.  Enjoy the journey and stop focusing on the destination (it may not even exist).

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Ernest Hemingway


Change = Growth

I believe that change is a very important aspect of life.  Going through constant changes is the only way to grow and develop as a person.

I enjoy new things, no matter how small and simple they may seem to others.  If i feel I am coasting through my day to day life without much inspiration, I look for a small change that can re-ignite a spark of inspiration and motivation.  It can be as simple as rearranging my bedroom or living room to get a new flow in the house.

I like change to a point that it might be categorized as an addiction.  Change is fun and exciting. So, as a caution to all you eccentrics out there, trying too many changes at one time though can become very overwhelming for you and for others around you.  It’s good to only make one change at a time, and be settled into that change before tackling another one.  Taking one small change at a time is a good way to build up self-control and learn to focus on the small things.

How Small Changes Can Help:

  1. Self-Esteem Boost – when I was just out of school, I was thrown into this big world and had to find where I fit into it all.  This is a very daunting feeling for a shy and self-conscious individual like myself, especially being a young female going into a male dominated field (engineering).  I started to play around with my hair style and added some coloring to the tips of my hair.  Creating  a small change to my image helped me feel more confident of my individuality.  As mentioned in my last post, it is a very fine line between the desire to be noticed and the fear of being noticed.  Controlling my hairstyle was a way of telling myself that my life wasn’t completely out of control.  The small bonus was that it would almost always lead to compliments from people around me that noticed the change and gave my self-esteem that extra little boost to keep me moving forward.
  2. Teach yourself discipline – My mother is one of the most self-disciplined people I have ever met.  I have always admired how much she has done and how she keeps going despite those days when everything seems to be working against you.  During a recent conversation with her, I asked her how she does it; how does she stay so disciplined when it is so easy to give in and not take the trash out?  In response she told me about when she had the same problem.  When she was just married, she asked her mother-in-law how she managed to make her bed every day.  The answer was simply “I get out of bed, and I make the bed”.  My mother has made her bed almost every day since then. That’s as simple as it is.  Just do what you need to do.  Once you do it, you realize that it wasn’t really that much work, or that much time….why did you fight it in the first place? Adding one small change to your daily routine can make your days feel that much more worthwhile and fulfilling.  When you get out of bed, make the bed!!
  3. Re-ignite your creative spark – I am a very logic based individual and tend to forget that my creative sides needs nurturing as well.  Sometimes it takes the smallest of changes, like my brother getting married (i know, i know…that isn’t really that small…but still), can spark a little fire for me to want to try my hand at creativity and art to put together a wedding photo album for them.  Once I get rolling on one project, it builds and nurtures that side of me and grows a desire to do more and share it with others.  What a perfectly healthy feedback look of positive energy!
  4. Learn a new skill – Ever wanted to learn how to decorate a cake?  That’s what happened to me.  After our wedding, my husband made a comment to the effect that it’s funny how so many people stick to only one skill rather than branching out and trying new things on their own.  So I decided, on a very random day that I would make a cake and try my best to make it look pretty, not just taste good.  This one cake led to me brainstorming different flavors and decoration techniques over a course of several months.  I am by no means a professional, but I am good enough to arouse excitement in my friends when they learn I am making them a cake (or cupcakes)….and that is a good feeling to have!

So to sum it all up, my advice to anybody willing to listen is this: Take on the challenge of change and try something new!