I’m the type of person that loves road trips. I love the anticipation of knowing that I will be flying down the freeway towards my destination, temporarily leaving reality behind. I am convinced that I enjoy the process of driving to my destination more than the actual destination itself. I love that sense of freedom that you get with the windows down, music blaring, the excitement of the unknown laying ahead. Of course I always know my final destination and have planned how I am going to get there. However, I have no idea what the journey will bring me. I never truly know how my trip will turn out for me. All that I know is that I have a destination and a wide open road ahead of me, full of possibilities.
Much like a road trip, life has its destinations and the journeys that must be traveled in order to reach those destinations. I think it is easy, especially in the fast-paced, high pressure world we live in today, to get caught up in the destination, the final product, the long-term goal, while forgetting to enjoy the journey. It is easy to overlook the journey and all of the excitement, the ups and downs, and the twists and turns that it brings. The journey can sometimes be difficult, monotonous, or tiring, while at other times is can be easy, exciting, and energizing. But the journey in its entirety is what brings us to our final destination, both the easy and the difficult, the monotony and the excitement. The final destination is often so rewarding because of the journey that is traveled in order to get there.
I know that I often lose sight of this and to this day I still struggle at times to remember to slow down and to enjoy the journey that I am on. Being in graduate school, I often catch myself thinking I will be better off when I have graduated and no longer have to live on financial aid and credit cards. In triathlon, I tend to focus on how much better I will feel when I have qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. I have to constantly remind myself to slow down and enjoy the processes and the day-to-day tasks that are involved with accomplishing these goals. The daily commitments I have towards studying, reading, and writing will eventually lead me to acquire my Master’s degree and then my PhD. The daily commitments I have towards swimming, biking, running, stretching, strength training, and recovering will eventually get me to qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. I have been spending a lot of my time recently taking a step back and remembering to enjoy these daily tasks. I have been making it a point to soak it all in. Whether I am working on reviewing literature for my next manuscript or suffering through another mile repeat on the track, I know that it is these individual moments that, when performed consistently and with 100% effort and focus, will eventually lead me to my goals.
When I stop to think about it, my journey is so rewarding because I choose each day to better myself, to become a little smarter, faster, or stronger than I was the day before. I get to wake up each day and do the things that I love. I get the opportunity to positively influence the lives of many people through the work that I do and the research that I am involved with. With triathlon, I get to experience the world around me and learn more about myself every day. To me, there is nothing more enjoyable than these day-to-day pleasures. The destination is just the icing on the cake.