It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Whether you read that and think about gameday drinking, a literal marathon, addiction recovery, or anything in between, that phrase is used in lots of different settings so take that in whichever way you associate it most. But, I have been thinking about this phrase a lot recently. As I am exploring new places pretty much every day and experiencing new once in a lifetime experiences, I seem to always be looking forward to the destination and not focusing on the journey it takes to get there.
I have been extremely stressed this past week, but I haven’t really been able to express that because while I am on this amazing chapter of my life, I feel like I cannot have any negatives about my experience. But, as I am working on being more open and honest about all the hills and valleys, here I am opening up about it. As it is now mid-October and I am finishing school in less than two months, I am stressing about the job search, returning home, and how to pack in everything I want to do abroad in the next 2 months.
This past weekend, my friends and I went to the coast and hiked to the most beautiful cliffs I have ever seen. As we were taking the train and buses to get to our eventual hike, all I could think about was getting to the cliffs. I was so focused on what was to come that I couldn’t even see all the beauty that was right in front of me. At one point as we were walking to the cliffs, I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the exact spot my feet were in. I began thinking about the journey we were on, not about what I was trying to reach. The stress and desire to just get to the cliffs slowly fell away and I was soaking in each step I took.
There is something about being in nature and to completely shut off the worries, technology, and everything else and truly enjoy where you are. I think that’s why nature is such a beautiful gift that we tend to take for granted. While nature is surrounding me every day, I tend to forget how amazing it is because I am so caught up in my own head and what I need to do in order to feel successful for the day. Since living in the city, I have learned how much I do genuinely appreciate the nature around me.
The journey I have been on is not one that is accessible to all, and I want to acknowledge how grateful I am to be able to be in this space. But all that to say, every moment over here isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. There have been times where I cry over FaceTime about things I never thought would bother or concern me. There have also been times when I am angry and the only way to release how I feel is by running full speed down a city sidewalk until I feel like I can’t breathe anymore (probably because I am not a runner). I think it is hard to embrace the journey sometimes when there are days like these. Because honestly, there is so much pressure from the world at home to make it seem like every day is the best day ever, and while most are, they can’t all be perfect.
But I think it is also important to recognize that there is good to be found in the hardship and confusion of the daily life, because those parts are also too part of the journey. The destination is made up of little moments that form the overall journey. If we only have good moments, the journey will look like a straight line, when we all know life is anything but a straight line. Life is like a heartbeat, it may go down, but it will eventually come back up and the pattern will continue.
So, to the girl who is embracing the journey, remember it is a marathon, not a sprint. Take in every moment, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies because if it were, we would be living in a magical dream that we would eventually need to wake up from. However, I am not saying we should dwell in the not so good parts, learn the lessons they will inevitably teach you, and move on to the brighter ones to come. The destination is going to be amazing, yes, but don’t forget all the little parts of the journey that get you to the destination because those may end up being more substantial at the end of the day.