As I was taking my dogs for a walk the other morning I began reflecting on some of my personal heroes. I found myself listening to the judge who began whispering that I should have started a long time ago if I ever wanted to be like them. Experiencing somewhat of a mid-life crisis, I have been contemplating what I have done with the first half of my life. My judge let me know that what I have done is very little and began to make a list of the mistakes, challenges, and failures that I have experienced over the past four decades.
“You could have been more like…,” my judge whispered. “If only you had made different choices; you could have been a lot farther along.”
Feeling the weight of failure resting upon my shoulders, I recognized that my judge was talking to me. I also recognized that it never turns out well if I allow my judge to hijack my life. And so I stopped for a moment. I put myself in the shoes of my heroes. I imagined being them for a moment. I realized that one of the reasons why they are my heroes are that they continue to work on being the best men they can be. I could not imagine even one of them saying, “Well, I have arrived. I no longer need to grow. I no longer have a battle to fight. I’m good.” I realized that they don’t consider themselves to have “arrived”. Instead, they see themselves as contin
uing on the journey.
In that moment, I was able to see the truth. It is something that I have known cognitively, but it sunk into my heart as I traveled along the dusty canal. I am never going to arrive at the destination perfection despite the number of times my judge keeps telling me that I need to get there. My job, if you can call it that, is to enjoy the journey. It sounds cliche’, I’m sure. But it is deeper than a simple catchphrase. Rather than focusing on the paths that I may have missed in the past or wishi
ng that I was farther along on the journey, I can express gratitude about where I am now because that is really the only place I can do anything of value.
As I contemplated this truth, my judge went silent and peace settled in. I expressed gratitude to where I am – a man trying to be the kind of father my children need, the kind of husband that my wife needs, and the kind of man that I need. And I felt joy that today I have another chance to journey on this road.