Young people need to be taught many things about life. Things that far surpass credits needed to graduate, GPAs, required courses or whatever the current social goal is for them to achieve in whatever is the most popular method.
Life is a journey and it cannot be dictated by following an established pattern that is considered the most acceptable.
Things change, detours occur, tires blow out, radiators overheat, sometimes you get a ticket for speeding, the dog vomits in the backseat, the hotel loses your reservation and have no rooms left. In other words – “S— happens.”
You have to be willing to adapt and overcome. Yes, it’s the Marine Corp’s motto, but it should be everyone’s motto. It should be one of the fundamentals for life skills. One a parent puts in their mind that is a necessity to teach their children or anyone they may find themselves in a position of mentoring.
Life is messy – there’s never just one way to your goal
You may think that getting from point A to point B in your life is as simple as a straight line. In theory, of course it is, but things come up along the way. It doesn’t mean you have to forfeit your dream. It just means you have to find another way to get there. Quite often, what you learn and experience along the way, benefits you greatly.
As an example, take this Google Map:
This is just going from one Home Depot to another in a neighboring city, clearly there is a shortest route and a fastest route. *Note – they’re not always the same. Shortest doesn’t mean fastest if there’s more traffic or slower speed limits. However, there are also two other routes suggested. It may take a bit longer or seem to be going out of your way, but the point is – you still reach your end destination.
If you note the top left corner of the map, there’s also not just one suggested mode of transportation. There are several given. That too dramatically changes the path suggested and travel times, but it also means there are more options, more ways to reach that goal and just because you didn’t pick the shortest, fastest, most common way to go about it, that you can’t still get there in the end.
Spectators and Players – which will you be?
It’s a debilitating mindset to tell someone, particularly your child that they have to accomplish this, this and that in life and it should be done “this,” way. Why? Why does everything have to be done according to some blueprint contemporary society has deemed acceptable?
The point, friends, to life is that you live it. Fully. Passionately! Running to and with it, experiencing it. Drinking in every moment that is presented to you. You have to be in it, not examining it from a bird’s eye view and picking and choosing what you think is the best path or way.
Here’s the problem with the bird’s eye view – you don’t live it. You see point A to point B and assume it’s the correct way to go, but if you’re not on the road, seeing the sights, knowing your surroundings and traveling with a worthy companion – you’ll lose so much along the way. You’ll miss hidden opportunities, relationships and memories.
See, when you get to the end of the journey, not just the goal you set in your mind, but the actual physical time on earth is done for you, all you have is memories and love. Those are the only things that will have merit and value. That’s it. The goals you achieved are hopefully wonderful memories, but for the most part, no one will remember them, but you.
What you filled that life with by being bold, adventurous, brave and taking advantage of new opportunities by going off the beaten path is what will make it all having worth lived.
Blazing Trails and seeing Sunsets
Personally, I’d rather ride a wild mustang bareback, across open free plains, feeling the rushing wind and the pounding of his hooves against the earth, and feel his heart and lungs surging with life than do a dressage display in the proper accepted attire inside a corral, or worse yet, sit in the bleachers and just watch the show.
That contemporary blueprint, A to B, never experiencing life is like choosing the carousel when there were live horses next to it. The ride starts, you go up and down, round and round and then it stops. There is no journey. That’s when people end up going headstrong towards a goal, reach it and then feel disenchanted, let down, deflated, and stand there saying, “Okay, so I got here – Now what?”
Pick your pony, mount up and ride, but be willing to change direction, blaze new trails and discover your own West. Just remember that nights are long, and the journey means more when you share it with people you can count on and love. If you’re open to those changing trails, you may be surprised who will take the ride with you.