In my television life, the word journey has become a total cliche, to faux pas proportions. If you say it, you’ll most certainly be met with a chorus of eye-rolling and groans. Reality show contestants never shut up about their damn journey. But everyone keeps watching.
Whether or not it’s apparent to the audience (I’m sure it is), or if we just hear it SO MUCH we can’t bear it any more (also probably true), we often forget that even a reality television journey is a journey, nonetheless.
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that three months spent locked up in a house, or cooking dishes under the pump, or dating a bunch of girls at once is going to change a person. Not to mention the crash course in living with people you might otherwise never meet and having lights, cameras, boom mics, and producers shoved in your face at all hours of the day and night. There should be a special award for reality show contestants.
The journey matters
Usually, at the end of whatever show it is, there is only one person standing.
But every person’s life has changed in some way or another. It’s just that no one really cares except that person.
If you’ve just got your eyes on the prize, there’s a good chance that you won’t even make it to the end. You’re more likely to get blind sided and kicked off the island for being an epic douche.
And that’s why enjoying the journey makes all the difference.
My friend Emily said it so well recently (and I proceeded to steal it a little bit): Make the most of your time in the sun.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have a plan of some sort. I talk about goals all the time with total conviction and, without setting goals, I know I wouldn’t be where I am.
If you just wander aimlessly, you might do some cool stuff, but it makes it pretty tough to get somewhere more specific.
There’s a lot to be said for having an end in mind, having targets, or a bucket list, or a freaking outrageous goal you can’t wait to smash – it sets you up for moving forward (instead of standing still or going sideways or backwards). But that’s just the starting point.
Get your journey on.
Once you’ve got your ‘for now’ end goal (cos, let’s face it, it’s likely to change along the way), then you can set off.
But don’t keep your head down, you’ll miss the sights.
(Like going to New York and travelling by subway the whole time and not getting a chance to see what’s happening in the little New York boroughs and missing all the bits and pieces going on and the people and the smells and all the awesomeness that is New York City life…are you excited, don’t you just want to go and explore?!)
What I’m saying is: the fun is in what you see along the way.
That’s what you’ll tell your friends about and what you’ll write home about and what you’ll reminisce on in years to come and what you’ll always remember about your trip.
The fun is where it’s at, yo.
Because getting to your end goal will be so much less gratifying if you miss the fun part. If you forgo friendships, experiences, and moments you might look up when you get to the finish line to see that no one is there to cheer you on, that it was an epic anticlimax, and that the mere achievement of arriving at your destination doesn’t feel so great (if you even get there at all).
It’s the people and the experiences that build you up to get through the hurdles and grow. They make the battle scars worthwhile, and the memories even better.
So, yeah, the term ‘journey’ might have become a little groan-worthy, we might all sigh and roll our eyes, but even a hardened reality show producer can’t take away from how true the cliche is (and how fun it is to look back once the cameras have stopped rolling and it’s time to celebrate).
Stop for a second. Look around you. See how far you’ve come. Breathe it in. Smile. Be grateful.And leave me a comment and tell me what your ‘journey’ looks like right now.