When I first had children, it was my earnest belief that it was my job to teach them everything about life. Little did I know that they had already set their emotional sat nav long before they landed on this planet and that they were fully kitted out with their own moral compass. They were born with HD inside.
What I really wasn´t prepared for was just how much they would teach me. In every waking moment spent with my children, I learn and grow as an individual. Some lessons not always learned the easy way. They have taught me more in eighteen years than I could ever have hoped to have taught them in a hundred lifetimes.
This week was no exception when I was reminded of a very important life lesson. Stuck for something to do on a boring Sunday, we decided to take the little rural train from Los Nietos to Cartagena and spend a few hours exploring this historical naval city nestled on the East Coast of Spain. We had a little bit of a car ride to the station and when we finally arrived, it really didn´t look very promising. The station building itself was all locked up with metal grills pulled across. Peering through the windows, the station canteen had clearly been abandoned long ago with a few remaining tables and chairs stacked up in a pile at the back, and to top it all, there wasn´t a soul on the platform. Nevertheless, having spent a while in the car, we stood waiting expectantly. The wind whistled along the track and our main entertainment was watching the lonely tumble weed, meandering along the line aimlessly.
After thirty minutes and just about to give up on the idea altogether, to our amazement a tiny, geriatric train could be seen trundling along in the distance. The excitement of my children was immediate and electric. Previously sat huddled on the one remaining station bench, they instantly rose to their feet cheering the train on as it rolled lazily into the little station.
Once on board and having purchased our tickets, my two youngest boys, could not sit still, choosing instead to watch animatedly out of the window, observing the world as it moved along. We passed by little mining villages, a modern windfarm on the top of the hill and some beautiful mountain desert scenery. They ran excitedly from one side of the carriage to the other steaming up the windows as they pressed their faces against them.
Their enthusiasm was contagious and most of the veteran Spanish travelers watched them with interest as the children weaved between the seats. The lined faces of the ´señores´ and ´señoras´ looked wistful, perhaps reminiscing about their own childhoods in the Spanish Campo many years ago.
And this reminded me of something very important. The joy of life is truly in the journey and not the destination. Ultimately, where do we think we´re headed anyway? It is unlikely we would ever see an intrepid mountaineer requesting to be airlifted to the highest peak to avoid the challenge of the climb to the top or an artist wanting his picture to be finished immediately.
We came here to enjoy the feeling of achievement which can be found in our journey TO places. This includes all of the obstacles along the way because it is in life´s challenges that we find our biggest satisfaction when we overcome them. So let´s set our goals by all means but let´s not lose sight of the here and now. Today is part of your journey. What are you going to do to make it memorable? Start right now, don´t wait. Seize the moment and enjoy it for every treasure it can give you. Don´t look forward feeling empty about what you haven´t yet achieved but with eagerness and excitement about the future possibilities.
So thank you children for reminding me of one of the most important things in life. We are truly here to nourish our souls and enjoy every moment of our life experience.