The Destination Is Only 20%, The Journey Is The Other 80%

The Destination Is Only 20%, The Journey Is The Other 80%

Are you living a full 100%?
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“Life is a journey, not a destination.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I can’t name the number of times I’ve heard this quote and never thought it through until just yesterday. We’ll often hear: “It’s about the journey, enjoy the journey!”

If life feels like everything but an exciting journey, I mean how can this really be true right? Can’t you see the number of hours I’m scheduled to work this week? How sleep deprived I am? The paper I have due at midnight that I haven’t started because I’ve been so busy focusing on how STUCK I feel?

Well...Why don’t we take a break from the heavy panic? Let’s try and really think Emerson’s quote through. So, life is “supposedly” a journey. Hmmm….

A group of friends or family will gather and say: “Let’s take a road trip to California!” or “Let’s drive to New York this summer!” The excitement grows and grows as the idea unfolds. And on this road trip, you’ll usually see mountains, plains, and wildlife. You may even see the sun shining and setting in a way you never have before.

Well, what if I told you that all of these different things in nature represent the treasures in your life you’ve yet to notice?


“But Alexi, how?! WHERE are these treasures?”

The treasures lie in the little or big things you’ve yet to celebrate! Your dog licking your face before you leave the house. The heart-shaped macaroni card your younger cousin gave you last holiday saying “Eye laf you.” That promotion you got at the job you can’t stand, or even, the letting go of something old and welcoming of something new.

So today, just for today, I challenge you all to remove yourselves from worry and angst, and instead to ask yourselves: “How many treasures have I let pass me by, so focused on my destination, without having noticed them? How many trees have I not seen, how many mountains? How many opportunities, how many triumphs? How many hugs? How many moments of laughter?”

My friends, it is when we recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate the beautiful treasures along the way that we can truly absorb the greatness of not only our destination but of life itself. You see, the destination is honestly that, a simple point on the map: a location.

But our lives are more than just a dropped pin on the Maps app.

Our lives are roads on roads. Intricate roads with bumps and potholes, yes. But also roads surrounded by birds, trees, and valleys. Let us ask ourselves honestly: “When was the last time I stopped to take a look around?”

For today, I challenge you all to remove the blinders that are keeping you from using your peripherals. The blinders that have you SO focused on what’s ahead rather than what’s around. Just for today, forget about the goal you set for yourself: losing 15 pounds, hating your boss, making more money, or acing intergalactic organic chemistry.

For today, rather than driving towards your destination, I want you to stop all movement. And if you’re feeling REALLY risky, step out of the car you’re driving and take a walk through the empty highway. Today, I want you to spend your day in stillness and inner exploration. And after some time I want you to ask yourself: “Where does my magic lie? At home? In that book I haven’t picked up in two years, but have been thinking about rereading? In my favorite bottle of perfume? In that sweet text from my best friend this morning?”

Scan your surroundings, your mind, and your heart. Come into contact with your bliss. Look around. Inhale deeply. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you taste? And what do you love?

Feel that love and that excitement. That gentle smile and sense of comfort. These are the feelings of gratitude and appreciation. These are the feelings of love and of light. Breathe in the gentle atmosphere that surrounds you.

You see, the destination is only 20%. The other 80 lies in the treasures leading up to it.

Would you want to say that you drove your life at a fast pace? Working endless late nights just to try and get to that 20%? Or would you want to say that you stopped to smell the roses along the way? And got to live in your full 100%?

If you haven’t heard it already, let me to be the first to tell you: we are all meant to live our 100%. In each and every moment.

So for today, I challenge you to live in your 100%. Choose gratitude. Choose insight. Choose light. And choose love. Regardless of where you’ve been, or where you wish to be, move mindfully today, in stillness, in awareness and in peace. For the best things in life may not exactly be what’s in front of you, but instead, are what you’re letting… pass you by.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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Poetry on Odyssey: My Best Works

Hopefully someone, somewhere will get something out of this.

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Hello friends, welcome to the most intimate part of me: my poetry. Here lies my best poems, the ones that express my emotions and hardships the most. Hopefully someone, somewhere will get something out of this.

Anxiety is a Hand

There's a hand wrapped around my neck, yet to squeeze,

but I know that it is coming from deep inside of me.
It's threatening to tighten, to close away my air,
shutting my eyes firmly as I try not to care.
The anticipation of it keeps me on my toes,
Where it suddenly came from? Nobody knows.
The feeling of anxiousness and close proximity takes me down under,

racking my head for ways to calm down, still so full of wonder.
Out of nowhere the hand begins to clasp around my neck,
tears streaming down my face because I'm unable to keep my feelings in check. The balloon within starts expanding as it fills up my entire being,
feeling so crowded and helpless, a blank page in my mind is all I'm seeing.

The Dress

Confidence became scraped, became abused.
And then came the splotches of brown and blue, forming every bruise.
Each risqué comment is a strike to the heart,
Building and building until I fall apart.
I hide beneath baggy clothes,
desperately trying to erase what everybody knows.
Ivory skin with bumps and curves,
Forgetting all that I deserve.
I became eye candy, not worth anything more,
Tears running down my face as I ask, "What am I good for?"
The mirrors up my skirt, the click of the camera as I walk by,
The iPad on my backside and a hand grazing my thigh.
The lump forming in my throat as I can't help but cry.
Each piling on top as I ask God why.
With every dress I buy comes shame,
The clothing that takes my figure and puts it in a frame.
It highlights my assets and makes me feel good,
but as I look in the mirror, I ponder on buying the dress and how I could.
It would put on display what people only see when they look at me,
holding me captive, never allowing me to be free.
so I throw the dress in my closet and I continue to hide,
hoping people will finally notice me for everything that's on the inside.

Slowly Erased

and I start the process as I slowly erase every part of you from my life—

from every text message you've ever sent me to every photo on my phone.

earrings left in my jewelry box, untouched,

items collecting dust beneath my bed.

I close my eyes and I try to shut you out.

I try to shut out every moment you made me smile,

i try to shut out every moment you made me feel the slightest bit alive or

the slightest bit h a p p y.

I try to ignore the pang in my heart at the very sound of your name

or the sound of a song playing on the radio that somehow ties back to you.

because even though i haven't seen you in days,

i see you everywhere i go.

i see you on the couch at the coffee shop we used to go to

i see you in my bed in my room

i see you in the simplest things

and i see you in the simplest of places.

i close my eyes and i try to make you go away.

i try to forget the way you made me feel.

because even though my head knows all the bad,

my heart wants to focus on all the good.

and even though we weren't meant to me,

and even though we're better off apart,

i can't deny the fact that you'll always be in my h e a r t.


Fire


you are my fire.
you spread heat through me as
I breathe in your oxygen.
you are my fuel
that causes the fire to burn brighter.

yet even as you stir up each flame,
you're able to extinguish it
the moment I melt into your arms—
yet bring it back to life the moment
my lips find yours.

perhaps the falling was the spark
that brought each flame to life

perhaps the aftermath;
the being—
was the smoldered fire,
calm, yet radiating heat,
quiet, with potential to roar again

The Garden

A garden sprouted in her heart and she grew,

each petal splashed with color, color without you.

Her leaves were her wings and she

learned how to fly,

she was stunted when she said hello, yet

soared when she said goodbye.

The Storm Cloud

Falling for you was like a storm cloud. Rain filled the soft cotton, refusing to spill, refusing to give in. It continued to build and build until one day, it burst.

And as it burst, drops fell from the sky unforgivingly; endlessly. It was a force unable to be stopped. It was a force unable to be broken.

Rain surrounded me, drops brushing against my skin the same way your fingers have so many times before. It nourished me, it brought me to life.

And as I stood there with my eyes closed so tight, I cried out into the night.

"Please hold me tight and never let me go, for you are the water and you help me grow."

The Tide

It washes over me in the way the tide washes over my toes.
The pit in my stomach feels endless, feels heavy.
And in my throat, I feel stopped up.
I can't breathe it in. I can't digest it.
It's like putting glasses on for the first time and finally being able to see clearly. But when I look in the mirror, I don't like the way I look. I worry others won't like the way it looks, either.
So I take the glasses off and I hide them.
And even though they're out of sight, the throbbing in my chest still remains.
The unsettlement in my stomach doesn't lift.
I push it down until one day, I become the glasses.
I hide myself.

Clone

Full of fear, full of doubt,

Unwanted feelings with no way out.

You write "Not good enough" on the mirror, letting it seep into your brain,

You're feeling adequate, you're going insane.

You base your value off what others think and how others view you,

Every negative comment sticking to you like glue.

Now every time you look in the mirror, that's all you see,

You don't listen to those who tell you over and over again that they disagree.

You don't know your true worth.

You don't know how beautiful you really are.

Even with every bump on your skin and even with all your scars.

You're beautiful when your hair is a mess, and when your makeup isn't on,

However, you don't feel that way. All you want is to be another one of society's spawns.

Maybe then they'll leave you alone,

but only if you're one of Barbie's clones.



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