Wednesday, May 21, 2008

my favorite analogy

About ten years ago my sister and I did a whole west-coast trip. We started in LA and worked our way north to San Fran for a cousin's wedding.

On the way we stopped to spend some time with our cousin Steve. Being that we had a week to get from one place to another and see all the sights in-between we had a pretty tight schedule.

The morning that sis and I were ready to leave the southern part of the state and head north, Steve convinced us to take a slight detour with him and his girlfriend. On a hike.

He swore up and down we had to do this. The destination was AWESOME, and it would only be an hour or so. We were headed to these natural waterslides - waterfalls that you could ride down in succession.

Sounded cool. We packed up some backpacks with water and snacks. We drove to the spot, parked the cars.

At the entrance, Steve pointed to the hilltop in the near horizon. "That's where we are going,” he said. And we were off.




Back then I was a pack a day smoker and a good twenty pounds heavier. Even though Steve, Moe, and Katie carried the backpacks I had to stop the hike several times to catch my breath.

Three hours later.... we reached our destination. And indeed, it was awesome.

It was an oasis of tranquility, like in the movies when people discover those waterfalls and swim around in bliss. We rode down the 'slides', jumped off of cliffs into deep pools of water. Rested, relaxed, enjoyed.

Then trekked the three hours back to the car.

In case you couldn’t tell, we were not able to drive north that day as planned after all. After seven hours on the expedition we needed to shower and rest. Because that hike was a bitch.

Later on in the evening when I pointed out the deception to our deceptor, Steve said, "I knew it was worth it. We just had to get you started. I knew the hill that I pointed to wasn't where we were going, but it didn't really matter. Did it?"

It didn't. Had we known how hard the journey was we might never had taken the trip at all. Which would have been a shame, because it was totally worth it. He was right.

From this, a major lesson learned. Pick a goal and start moving. It doesn't matter if you end up where you thought you would, or if the path deviates from where expected. If you don't try you won't get anywhere. And then you quite possibly could have missed something spectacular.

As for that last post? I remembered my own favorite analogy and said to hell with it. I'm pointing to a visible hilltop, getting started on a path, and the rest will fall into place. Because that is just how it works. Start on a journey and see where you end up.

It is always worth it.

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