Everyday Destinations

A fellow blogger shared an article yesterday. This is an excerpt:

When I was a child consuming all sorts of classic cultural fare — books, movies, and the like — the moment that scared me the most was not when Alice shrunk in Wonderland or when the Wicked Witch captured Dorothy. It was not when vampires came out of the walls in Are You Afraid of the Dark? or when The Pigeon Lady showed up in Home Alone 2.

It was a particular passage in The Phantom Tollbooth.

At one stop along their journey to rescue Princesses Rhyme and Reason, our protagonists — Milo, Tock, and The Humbug — encounter a faceless man. He at first seems innocuous and politely asks the group to help him with a few small tasks.

Milo is tasked with moving a pile of sand from one spot to another using only tweezers — one grain at a time. Tock must empty a well with an eyedropper. The Humbug must dig a hole through a mountain with a needle.

After awhile, our friends realize that they are trapped, stuck performing the most menial tasks of all time. When Milo eventually calculates that they will waste hundreds of years trying to finish this work for the faceless man (who, it turns out, is named, The Terrible Trivium), they realize they must escape.

Who can say why this narrative of all narratives struck within me such a fierce and hungry fright?

But it has something to do, I’m sure, with the fact that my greatest fear is wasting time: abusing the hours, filling my life with joyless tasks and meaningless fluff and having nothing to show for it at the end.

This fear has stuck with me, has always been with me.

Read the rest at How To Spend Time On Whatever It Is You Want To Do

The post author writes that for her generation, time has sped up, since change happens quicker. This also creates more opportunities for them than ever before. According to her, people of her generation as accustomed to this pace. They have adapted to it, some very well. To some, this pace is now essential.

As Alvin Toffler said in Future Shock, the through-put  has sped up. There is more happening in one unit time that it ever did before. Things which took months and years to go around the world, now go around within minutes and hours. That’s what technology has done.

There are those who have adapted to this rapidly shifting world. The post author cites herself as one of those who enjoy the pace. But what of those who don’t enjoy it? What of those who find the pace anxiety- inducing and desperation fostering? How are such people to cope?

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.

~David Carradine

A rapid rate of change in all areas of life can be overwhelming to deal with. Not all of us are equipped- or desirous- of dealing with such a brisk pace. It unseats our equanimity, it breeds feelings of inadequacy and failure. And yet, these people aren’t at fault because their internal tempo doesn’t match with that of the world in which they are compelled to operate.

I too belong to this laid back category. A mad rush in every area of my life is not something I want to deal with. I don’t WANT to… not that I can’t if I thought that it was to my benefit if I did. I don’t want to because I genuinely don’t believe that I can do my best work, be my most effective, contribute the most to the world, by rushing headlong into one thing after another without taking the time to consider whither I am headed.

Therefore, I have stepped aside to what the world calls the side-lines. I am content to watch those who hurry past. In a way I admire their energy and grit- but without questioning- or berating- my own choices. They have their lives to live in their own way, and I have mine. To them, I might seem dull and spiritless. Some of them must surely wonder if it is a case of sour grapes for me.

Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep.

~Samuel Johnson

By their rights, such thoughts are more than reasonable. Were I in their shoes, sprinting at the speed of light in pursuit of whatever I thought was the most essential symbol of contentment, I should also have looked askance at those sitting dreamily on the grassy knolls by the roadside, nibbling at the sweet stalk of a juicy grass. It would have annoyed me very much.

I am a naturally lazy person. Scrambling and competing for things that many others are already competing for, doesn’t seem at all like fun to me. I’d rather look for a road less travelled and go meandering all over the shrubbery. I would travel at my own pace, with my own means. If I wanted to sit and rest, I would. There would no rushing feet to make me feel guilty of spending an entire afternoon sitting under a hoary old tree, staring at the mountains in blue distance.

I wouldn’t get to the pinnacle, maybe. But then, when was getting to the pinnacle  a priority for me? Moreover, who can know what pinnacles I conquer everyday in my inner landscape?

I am much better employed from every point of view, when I live solely for my own satisfaction, than when I begin to worry about the world.  The world frightens me, and a frightened man is no good for anything.

~George Gissing

In a long distant past perhaps, imbued with a youthful- and natural for those years- assertiveness, I might have wanted to pit myself against my peers, but not any more. I have nothing to prove to myself. Now, I know both my limitations and limitlessness. I am happy and contented in my skin. Not for a minute do I feel that I have frittered away my time. It may sound cliched but life really is about the journey, not the destination.

Every day of your journey is a destination too, isn’t it?

Picture Mine
Picture Mine

19 thoughts on “Everyday Destinations”

  1. Beautifully garnished with that wonderful collection of quotes. Yes. Everyday is a new destination, with new co-passengers, new roads, new experiences and new adventures. And one can only enjoy it if one is not competing with anyone in any manner. Adter all the journey is what matters. Lovely thoughts. 🙂

    1. And yet, with new paths and co- passengers, the journey is old, so very old. You’ve been on it from the day your soul was born. It will end only when it mergers with the supreme.
      I’m happy you liked this Rekha. Thanks for coming by… 🙂

  2. Its not the destination that matters, its also the journey and how much you enjoy it. It really would it if you reach your destination quickly but don’t even stop to smell the flowers on the way or admire a beautiful sunrise. I am a mix of both go getter and laid back ..I hate scrambling and competing for the goals I have set. I like to savor the journey !

    1. Ruchira, I am not surprised to know that you like to savor the journey. There is a kind of restfulness about you. In the words you write, in the way you interact. Beautiful sunrises and dew- laden flowers are very much your thing.

      Such a pleasure to see you here Ruch, thanks!

  3. Yet another thought provoking post from you. I too prefer the laid back journey than be in a hurry to reach the destination. And when I do “travel”, I prefer to stop, observe, take in my surroundings, gather my thoughts – for as you and many a wise people have said, it is all about the journey. The destination is always going to be there 🙂 But the sad fact is that modern day living forces you to rush. If not, by the time you get there, there is nothing left. So maybe we also need to look at the destination 🙂

    1. Now that is the fallacy, the escape clause, the rider. Modern life does try to chivvy you along, if you let it. I hope I don’t sound preachy here. I have a horror of it. 😛

        1. I didn’t mean you either. I know too well of you decision to take the ‘road less traveled’. I meant those who sit on the fence, wondering which way to jump. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Sunday Brunch #7 | Serenely Rapt

  5. Glad i caught up with this post and a huge thanks for bringing it on Dagny.Across i don’t know how many miles,someone has echoed my feelings and priorities so comprehensively,something i could not have done myself.Somewhere,we are all alike as Donne said ‘Ask not for whom the bell tolls,it tolls for thee.’

    1. What a perfectly apt quote Indu! Indeed, as you said, the bell tolls of us. Thank you for your endorsement. It feels wonderful to connect with someone who thinks as you do… specially on so abstract an issue. 🙂

  6. Just like you Dagny I have taken a conscious decision to stand by on the sidelines and watch the hurried crowd rush past me, while I take in the sights, sounds and smells that life has to offer at a more leisurely pace which is uniquely my own

    1. All I can say is- we’re well met! 🙂

      Isn’t it so peaceful here, on the sidelines? I don’t think nature meant us all to hustle and bustle. Some, like us, were meant to smell the flowers. After all, someone has to. 🙂

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