Day five was a pretty good day. I did the same breakfast I’ve been doing all week and I did leftovers for lunch. Sounds boring but it was all good. Dinner time presented some unique challenges. I was supposed to be heading to a fitness class, but things went sideways and I couldn’t get there. Instead, I took my 15-year-old son and my 16-year-old nephew through the drive through at Dairy Queen…where they ordered burgers and Blizzards…and I was sooooo hungry. And there was literally nothing vegan on the menu….so…I stayed hungry. Fortunately, my husband saved the day. He barbecued burgers for himself and the younger kids while I was out but was thoughtful enough to throw a veggie burger on for me…thanks, babe! And, even better, my 19-year-old daughter brought me this:
To back up a little, on my lunch hour today, after I ate my leftovers, I decided to go for a walk. I didn’t have workout clothes with me, except for my sneakers, but I threw them on with my dress and away I went. I ended up strolling along the boardwalk not far from my office. It was a beautiful day and there were tons of people around. As I started out, I saw a very athletic-looking woman in shorts and a tank stretching out her muscles and, immediately, I felt self conscious. I felt embarrassed for walking in my sneakers and dress instead of being a serious athlete out for a run. I looked at my not-so-lean body and I felt inadequate.
Then, I kind of had an epiphany.
Today, MY journey was a moderately-paced walk in my dress and sneakers which, for me, was better than not getting any exercise at all simply because I didn’t have gym clothes. MY journey was not the same as anyone else’s out there on that that boardwalk. There were hundreds of people around – some were alone, some were in pairs, some were in larger groups. Some people were strolling leisurely, some people were walking at a moderate pace and some were running. Some people were sitting on benches looking out at the water. Some people were walking dogs. Some people were pushing strollers or chasing toddlers. Some people were riding their bikes in the bike lane. Hundreds of people were around, all of whom were on their own journey.
That is an apt description of every aspect of life, isn’t it? We’re all just on our individual journey, doing the best we can in any given moment. We might cross paths with others and smile and nod hello, we might even walk side-by-side with someone for a while, hand-in-hand, going in the same direction. But, even if we’re going to the exact same place, we’re still on individual journeys.
We hope that our family members and loved ones will walk paths close to our own because we love them and want to feel close with them but, ultimately, we have to support them in their own personal journey.
I think sometimes we waste energy trying to influence the path another takes. Instead, maybe we need to realize that our way of travelling through life may not be right for someone else. I think we also often feel offended when someone we love does not modify their own journey to be nearer to us. But, really, that’s unfair. If we love them, we should want them to take the path that leads to their joy and happiness, not to our own.
I am incredibly guilty of often wishing people would bend to my will. Of feeling frustrated and angry when they don’t adapt their journey to fit better with mine. Today I realized that I just need to remind myself that this is MY journey and no one else’s. And, others’ journeys are theirs alone. And we can walk together for a while when it suits but it’s also ok to have different ideas about how to get somewhere or to have different destinations entirely.