learning how to enjoy the journey


ABIDING IN THE ORDINARY


Despite what a random stretch of 90 degree days in the middle of September would lead you to believe, summer is coming to a close, school is back in full swing, and oddly enough, I’m finding myself feeling more than a little restless these days. And restlessness is an odd thing, because it would cause you to think that I’m not busy or that I don’t have enough to keep myself occupied, but that wouldn’t be true, even though I have cut back on some commitments coming into September.

No, with hundreds of pages of grad school reading due every week and still half a mental health social work case load to manage, among the myriad of other little responsibilities we each find ourselves with on the daily, weekly, and monthly, I’m definitely keeping myself busy, but somehow that hasn’t kept me from feeling restless or antsy or, dare I say, bored in some strange manner of speaking.

Sometimes, in times like these, this perplexes me, because while I do enjoy a good dose of spontaneity here and there, I’m definitely the kind of person who thrives more on routine and structure than anything else. And yet, here I am, in a position where the majority of major things in my life have remained more or less the same over the last year and a half, and I find myself craving some sort of drastic change because I’m feeling restless/antsy/bored. Perhaps more than anything, I’m profoundly experience the sensation of my own discontentedness.


PERHAPS MORE THAN ANYTHING, I’M PROFOUNDLY EXPERIENCING THE SENSATION OF MY OWN DISCONTENTEDNESS


While I tend to feel most comfortable with a sense of familiarity and acclimation, here I am, having been at my current job for a year and a half now, starting the second year of grad school, and generally feeling like I have a handle on the primary spheres in which I tend to exist, and for whatever reason, I think internally that feels not good enough.

I’m at the point where I’m progressing in grad school, credit by credit, but it’s not this new exciting thing anymore. It’s not a new field. It’s not new people. It’s not really even new professors. We’re still learning, but somehow inside it’s started to feel stale for no particular reason, and that’s juxtaposed with the reality that I truly love what I’m learning and cannot wait to actually be practicing in the mental health field. What a paradox.

Parallel to that, I think the same fundamental experience is unfolding at work. My job is no longer new and exciting. It’s relatively familiar, and I generally have a handle on what I’m doing, even as I’m continuing to find myself in new situations and with new cases that I have to adjust to. And likewise with school, I genuinely enjoy the work I do for the most part, but it’s reached this point where my internal craving for newness makes it feel boring, and I think that’s the discontentedness that I’ve talked about a bit before, this sensation that we’re already not where we once were, but we’re still yet to be where we’re going.


IT’S REACHED THIS POINT WHERE MY INTERNAL NEWNESS MAKES EVERYTHING FEEL BORING, echoing this sensation that we’re already not where we once were, but we’re still yet to be where we’re going


Amid this middle ground is where I think I become most in touch with what feels so out of place and so odd about this season of life. I’m still feeling very much in the middle of all this middle-ness that’s decorated the last year or two of my life, feeling like I’m in transit.

I’ve started paying off my student loans, but I’m not quite there yet.

I’ve started on my way to becoming a therapist, but I’m not quite there yet.

I’ve started on my career in the mental health field, but I’m not quite there yet.

I’ve watched my friends get married, and I’m definitely not there yet.

I’ve watched my friends move away and start on crazy adventures around the world, and I’m not there yet.

It’s odd, because I know while I’m on my way towards so many goals and so many things I want to be doing, I’m not there yet, and somehow that almost makes it feel meaningless, though I know that’s not the true reality of the situation. And so, as melodramatic as it seems, I think my struggle right now is with enjoying the journey, rather than fixating on the origin or destination of your travels in life. I so deeply want to be either here or there that I frequently work myself into an anxious mess of detesting the fact that I’m still on the way there.


MY STRUGGLE RIGHT NOW SEEMS TO BE WITH ENJOYING THE JOURNEY, RATHER THAN FIXATING ON THE ORIGIN OR DESTINATION


Maybe it’s basic. Maybe it’s privileged. But perhaps more than anything, I think it’s just getting in touch with this pressure, both internal and external, for you to have “arrived” somewhere without actually taking the journey to go get there, or perhaps at the very least, to have a highly expedited journey to wherever you think you’re going.

But these days, as life continues to slow down and speed up as it pleases, and more obstacles and forks appear in the road, I think I’m slowly learning to enjoy and appreciate the journey a little more, while also respecting and taking more value in both the destination that lies ahead and all of the places and stops we’ve left behind.


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