Saturday, February 19, 2011

Are We There Yet?

A friend told me the other day that I should not worry so much about my destination, but rather enjoy the journey.

Good advice. But I was perplexed. I thought I was a journey kind of person. Didn't I come across as a journey kind of person? And even if I was a destination kind of person, I'm directionally challenged. I rarely get to where I planned to go in the manner that I planned to get there. I actually got lost in my own neighborhood once. And I was walking! So I don't have a choice. I have to enjoy the journey because if I didn't laugh at the constant road blocks, obstacles, detours, and wrong turns that make up my journey, I'd be perpetually stalled at some sketchy roadside rest stop, sobbing my eyes out.

But the comment got me thinking. People really do fall into those two camps, for the most part. Journey people and destination people. Then I wondered if that is one of the causes of miscommunication between kids and parents. There are 10 gazillion books on how to talk to your kids.There are books that preach Love Languages, Love and Logic, Parenting IQ's and Parenting Smart Zones. If I checked, I could probably find one on how to spk txt 2 ur kids. But I don't think there is one on Journeys and Destinations. (And you type C personalities out there, if you find one, I don't want to know about it!)

But think about it, if we are constantly using Journey Speak to a Destination Person, we might as well be speaking Swahili! And as you all know, I speak fluent Swahili.

So which category do my children belong to? Kate is definitely a Destination Person, to a fault. ANYTHING at all that happens along the way that doesn't directly deliver her to her desired destination is a complete waste of time and frankly a bunch of bleeping bull-bleep! Maybe that's why every time I tried to get her to just relax and enjoy life, she claimed that I had no idea what I was talking about. The Journey Speak simply didn't resonate.

Sophie is a Journey Girl. She MUST smell every flower, feel every speed bump, splash in every mud puddle...You get the picture.  I get this way of living. Even so, I have to remind her every so often to focus on where she's wanting to be and think about if these appealing detours are going to get her there. But she usually doesn't hear me because she's half-way out the door to the next tourist spot.

Frank is also a Destination Person. He agrees with the bleeping bull-bleep idea, but expresses his discontent more mildly. He's nice enough to be willing to enjoy the ride if he's with a Journey Person, but jumps for joy when he's in the company of the Destination People. He patiently listens to the Journey Speak, but I don't think he buys a word of it.

Then there's the Quiet yet Calculating One. She takes the Destination Idea to a new place entirely. Her destination is not Hollywood or the Olympics or the Moon, as some kids dream. Oh no. Her destination is winning. Life is not a journey. No map or GPS system required. Life, my friends, is a game and the challenge is to win.

A while back when Captain Phil of The Deadliest Catch passed away at such a young age, I asked my daughter if she had the choice, would she choose a short life packed full of adventures like Captain Phil or if she would rather live a long, less chaotic life. Her answer: "It depends. Do I get to live to be the oldest person alive? Because if not, what's the point." Now, what version of Swahili do I use to answer that?

Are you a Destination Person or a Journey Person? What about your kids? It might be interesting to ask them if they think life is all about the place they are going or how they are going to get there. And if you can decipher, let me know what they say. You can catch me stopped by the side of the road searching for my map. Or perhaps walking in circles, taking in the beautiful scenery on my way to where I'm trying to go.

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