So many ideas, so many plans, and it seems that one should be able to map a path to the destination one wants and just go from point A to point B. Of course, one would expect a reasonable number of glitches and obstacles to navigate along the way to impede one’s progress (hopefully only temporarily). But for some reason, Life’s not that easy. But the lack of direct routes from our ideas to our imagined destinations has both its good and bad points.
We all know the bad points. The perceived waste of time and resources as we seemingly roam without purpose or direction. Years can pass, and we are left to wonder where all the time went, and why we don’t have more to show for it. But that attitude ignores the good points, which are the amazing discoveries and activities we can enjoy during these wanderings.
I have rarely taken a direct route anywhere. And for the most part, that’s ok with me. The side trips of my life are what have added color and texture that I may not have found any other way. All the planning in the world would never have brought me to Taiwan. In fact, it’s hard to think of myself imagining anything like teaching writing in a foreign country. So if I couldn’t have imagined the life I’m living now, I couldn’t have plotted my way to it.
So, while I can’t say I’d want to totally avoid the twists and turns along the path I’ve travelled, sometimes, it seems that I could have saved myself a little time and grief along the way. Sometimes, I see a nice glittery idea and I jump in and go with it, not realizing that it is likely to take me miles and miles out of my way, and add months–if not years–to my travel schedule. It took me until I was nearly 50 to get my B.A. And it may take me a few more years to build the part of my life that I am now dreaming about. But it’s ok. I’m going to make sure I enjoy the journey as I travel toward the destination.
As there is less time left in this journey then when I started, I want to find a little balance in how much diversion I add to the trip. Less glitter, more substance. I want to enjoy the side trips, but maybe I will take fewer of them. I want to explore new ideas, but I will be more selective about which ones make the cut. I will take on less, so that what I do take on can be more fully enjoyed. But whenever something unexpected comes along in the course of my travels, I will look for the unexpected delight and not just see the inconvenience. Detours can lead to unexpected delights. I’m willing to see where they lead.