We’re all chasing something.
There’s always a goal, just barely out of sight, in that mysterious place the sun disappears into at the end of the day. This elusive idea that if we do this thing, land this job, accomplish this task, meet these qualifications, we will have arrived…somewhere.
My somewhere is a vaguely-defined place, sketched with shadowy lines by the following parameters: that I be able to support myself (health insurance and retirement fund included) but also have money to give away, while still managing to afford the upkeep of a Great Dane and fund my long-dormant love of horseback riding. See? Ambiguous goals.
They say it’s about the journey, not the destination, or something like that but more pithy and quotable. But in order to have a journey you do need to have a place you’re trying to reach in mind, otherwise it’s not a journey anymore so much as aimless wheel-spinning, and there’s nothing particularly memorable or impressive about that. And what happens when you reach this destination anyway? Do you rest on your laurels and stop expending any effort because you’ve made it wherever it is you decided you needed to go?
I wonder, as we walk our paths and mark our progress toward these pillars of success that so often seem to disappear from view just as we summit the metaphorical mountains or enter the allegorical clearings, how many more valuable moments of arrival do we fail to acknowledge as we pursue the one we have decided will crown our lives with meaning and solidify our place in the world as humans who matter?
Sometimes I can see those missed moments in retrospect, and I’m retroactively thankful for them. But the ones that really floor me are the ones that I catch in realtime, like the other night when I was eating dinner and talking to my brothers and one of them stopped us mid-conversation to say, “Sometimes I wonder how you guys got to be so cool.” While I may feel this suggestion of my coolness to be slightly erroneous, I recognized in the statement the realization of a goal I only ever subconsciously set for myself, with a very low degree of likelihood, without any sort of plan for actually seeing it come to pass; namely, the development of rapport and maybe even friendship between myself and my two brothers.
This development happened fairly organically, through the discovery of mutual interests and the sharing of stories that, almost ironically, detail some of our less than stellar life choices. It’s not much to my credit that this rapport exists, because I performed no admirable feats in order to create it. I listened, and I responded. Basic human interaction techniques. For this reason it would be easy to overlook a moment like this as inconsequential, when in fact it may be more pivotal than, say, landing a dream job. Who remembers their first paycheck anyway? But being friends with one’s own siblings, that’s a success you can take to the bank.
And we are friends, officially. We have a group text.