Last night I checked into the Duck Inn Lodge in Whitefish, Montana. This morning, when I finish writing this post, I get in the car to realize a 30 year dream: go to Glacier National Park.
When I checked into the Inn I shared my enthusiasm with the clerk behind the counter. He laughed and said, “Why are you going this time of year? The main road is closed nine miles into the park. It is just beyond that point where you really get to see the glorious vistas. You will see little of the park.”
How would you respond? Disappointment hit hard at first. But then I realized even if what he said is true I’ve had a great trip so far:
- I saw a sign along the road which read, “Watch for bighorn sheep.”
- a newly discovered coffee shop served me one the best lattes I’ve ever had.
- I stopped at an old bookstore and poked around the dusty shelves.
- the scenery along the way boggled the mind.
I’ve decided if Glacier National Park is disappointing, the journey did not disappoint!
If you are planning for the golden moment when retirement comes into view, recognize the destination might disappoint. You might find retirement not to be all you dreamed. What then? The answer is to make sure you’ve enjoyed the journey.
Here’s 5 simple ways to make sure you enjoy the journey of life.
- Slow down. If you travel down the highway of life at 100 miles per hour you cannot possibly enjoy the journey. It goes by too quickly. The view blurs. All you can do is keep your eyes fastened ahead to the next appointment or task. Take at least one day off from your job each week. Don’t neglect vacations. Each night tip back the Lazy Boy and relax. Slow down and enjoy the journey.
- Pay attention. I keep my eyes on the road most of the time. But I confess to gawking out the window as the miles roll past. I’m watch for an eagle in the sky. I check the fields for deer. And if a patch of wildflowers is along the road I see it. Inspiring and beautiful moments fill each day. Look for them and you will see them. Pay attention and enjoy the journey.
- Reduce the noise. When you drive down the road too much noise can ruin the trip. Imagine the radio playing, kids fighting in the back seat, and the windows down with air screaming in. Compare that image with the commerical showing the driver enjoying complete silence as he rounds the curves in his expensive car. Reduce the loud unnecessary distractions and enjoy the journey. Get rid of those things which wear you out and produce little value in return. Reduce the noise and enjoy the journey.
- Embrace the bumps. The fifteen passenger van contained a group of excited Americans on a mission trip to Guatemala. As part of the group I still remember the many speed bumps which seemed planted everywhere. BANG! Every time we hit one we would bounce into the air and hang on tight. But it made us laugh. Why? The bumps became part of the adventure. Every bump you hit along the journey can either torment you or put a smile on your face. Embrace the bumps and enjoy the journey.
- Give thanks. In college I hung with a group of guys who became as close as family. We sucked every possible moment of joy out of the college experience. Now, many years later, three of them are gone. It reminds me to be thankful for every day. I roll out of bed in the morning and give thanks for another day on the planet. It might be a day filled with challenges but it is another day. Give thanks and enjoy the journey.
In a couple of hours I’ll head into Glacier National Park and knock another item off my bucket list. What will I see? Will the weather block the views? Will the famous Road to the Sun indeed be closed right before the stunning scenery? I don’t know but I promise you this: I’m going to enjoy the journey.
Are you enjoying the journey of life? What’s the one thing you can do today to enhance your appreciation of the journey?
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