Humans are explorers. We always have been. I would submit that it’s the reason we manifest onto this plane in the first place. To boldly go where we’ve never gone before. Physically, intellectually, emotionally, even sexually. We may be wired to seek comfort. But we’re not happy in that place.
Most of us will wind up in an unsatisfying, soul crushing JOB, or whole series of jobs. For the better part of forty years. Is that what we should be doing? With this one glorious opportunity for adventure?
Nobody gets out alive. Again, for those of you in the back —
No one gets out alive!
Goals are great but they’re also limiting. See, you can’t really set a goal for an outcome you can’t even envision. And any true adventurer will tell you, the best part of the adventure is the stuff that happens in between the destinations you set out to reach. To me, approaching life as an open-ended adventure is much more enjoyable than attaching yourself to some goal. Obviously, everyone’s mileage will vary but I find the happiest people to be the ones who find enjoyment in the everyday surprises that life hands us. The achievers and over-achievers never seem to find satisfaction. As soon as they’ve conquered the mountain, they’re off setting their sights on the next.
When you’re lying on your deathbed are you really going to bask in the glow of making partner at twenty-five? Will you brag about the AI you wrote that replaced fifteen hundred call center employees? Likely not. But what about that day you hiked up to Horsetail Falls on a cold February afternoon with your best friend and watched the water catch fire at dusk? Or the day you dove off the bow of that little sailboat into the azure blue sea of the Caribbean on your second date with the woman who’s now, fifty years later, sitting in the chair next to your bed?
Life is made of moments of magic and wonder. Like fairies and leprechauns, they disappear out of the corner of your eye if you don’t pay attention. What, you don’t believe in fairies or leprechauns? Probably think dragons are some fantastical, mythical creatures too, eh? Well, it’s not my job to convince you of what you refuse to see. So, keep setting your focus on the goal in front of you, to the exclusion of all else. Just be prepared to miss making the memories that bring all the color and texture to life.
“To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… “cruising” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in.” — Sterling Hayden
There’s a time and a place for reaching out and making things happen. For sitting on top of the world and surveying all you’ve achieved. Just remember, the most interesting people in the world don’t sit behind a desk for sixty hours a week running the sales figures for the last quarter. Admit it, that’s not what you really want to be doing with your life either.
Don’t wait too long or you’ll be too tired to make a life while you’re so busy making a living.