Last week, Shary and I were invited by some close friends of ours to a weekend marriage retreat. Life is busy right now but we thought it would be nice to get away and reflect on ourselves and our marriage. On Oct. 27th, we will celebrate our 23rd anniversary. Even though we've been married for quite some time, it is so necessary to take time out very now and again, and evaluate "How am I doing?"/"How are we doing?" as a couple and as a family. Honestly, it's been too long since we've done that.
Of course, there are always things to work on but I'm happy to say that Shary and I are doing fine. I did, however, have the opportunity to pinpoint at least one area of my personal life that needs improvement. Being more of a "destination" person, rather than a "journey" guy, I saw the need in my life to enjoy the process of life as much or more as the outcome. If you have ever traveled with me, you would know exactly what I'm talking about!
Back to our weekend... We had some free time on Saturday afternoon and we decided to go hiking with some friends. We had 2 hours and picked a point (much too far) on the mountain to hike to and back. Being the fearless leader, I started up the mountain, at about an altitude of 8500 ft. and kept a nice steady pace, at least for me, and began to make my way up the mountain. After some time, I noticed that I had lost my climbing buddies who had stopped for pictures and to catch their breath. In the goodness of my heart and trying not to be impatient, I waited for them but took off again when they caught up. This went on for about an hour until my wife sat down in the trail and said she was done and she was going no further. My friend looked at me and said, "You know, Phil, you ARE allowed to enjoy the journey." And it hit me! I was so interested in "reaching the top" that I really hadn't been paying attention to all the beautiful scenery or to my wonderful wife and friends.
Being goal- and task-oriented can be a great thing but there must be a balance. I believe that goal setting and achieving those goals are important things, but if we become too focused on the goal, we tend to miss all the wonderful experiences and relationships along the way. I suppose we are, as my friend said, allowed to "enjoy the journey" and to stop and smell the roses every now and then.