“Does it need to be a beach on Hawaii, or can it just be some of the time you’d have carved out getting there?”
That’s one short line from a very long post my friend Colleen just wrote, but I think it’s easily the most important thing she says. Of course I’m yanking it out of context to make it seem a little heavier but in context she’s answering the question “Which parts of your life make you the happiest?” and it’s a list of fairly simple things, or actually, a few simple activities. She’s talking about doing those activities with people you love being so much better. This is actually something I’ve been thinking about for a while but Colleen kinda nails it with that line. And sure it’s just a twist on the “the journey is more important than the destination” thing but sometimes you need a twist for it to really click. And this does just that. I was looking over my 2007 year in review and all the traveling I did last year and while it was cool to go new places, the experience of going there and the people I was with was far and away more important to me.
I actually decided somewhere in the middle of last year that stuff didn’t really matter to me as much as experiences because 5, 10, 20 years from now the stuff will have come and gone, or broken, or been replaced, or ended up on a shelf gathering dust, while the experiences are what sticks with you for ever. They are what change you, what mold you, and what make you better tomorrow than you were today. However I hadn’t considered it the way Colleen puts it here. I would have thought “going on vacation to Hawaii with someone important to me” would be the experience but she’s absolutely right, Hawaii doesn’t matter. The “where” is trivial, the important bit is that you, or both of you, decided that spending this time with the other person, experiencing whatever it is that is going to come from it together, was important enough to do it. It’s all the bits in between A and B.
I think I realized that a bit more recently on the roadtrip I took with Tara from Seattle to Los Angeles. Getting to Los Angeles was the goal, but it wasn’t really the “goal” if that makes sense. I’ve been to Los Angeles, so while I was looking forward to getting home, that wasn’t really what we were after. We purposefully alotted extra days in the trip so we could take the trip, rather than just focus on the destination. We could stop and look at weird things on the side of the road. We could spend hours doing things that were not driving towards our destination at all. The flowers were stopped for and smelled to say the least. I learned a lot from that trip that I try to keep in mind going forward, and I’m lucky enough to have people like Colleen around to point out the other angles sometimes as well.