Sometimes I think I have a little bit in common with Don Quixote, at least when it comes to unsatisfying quests. Yesterday, the boys and I journeyed out to order one of Kade's birthday presents, drop some books off at the library, and try to find a Go board and stones so we could continue to learn how to play. Kade's present ordered? Check. Books returned? Check. Go board? Not so much.
We tried every place here in town we could think of (well, every place except the comic/gaming store that is literally covered in merchandise just thrown wherever it happens to fit - I need to be in a special mood to brave that one.) Eventually, we were at a crossroads; do we go home and order it online, or drive to the mall in the next town (gasp) and look for it there. We decided on the mall. It was a good experience overall, as we got to wander around a bit and enjoy our first Radio Shack experience. But alas, no Go.
Proud of our quest if not a bit verklempt that we failed to achieve our goal, we headed for home. Rather than go home the same way we came, I decided to get a bit adventurous and explore a new path. It was actually pretty nice; we got to see some cool things, and it was very pleasant and rural. But as 10 minutes became 15, and 15 became 20 and then 30, I began to feel pressured that it was taking a bit too long for the boys, who were eager to be home. Without thinking too much about it, I muttered something like "I guess we won't be going this way again. Sorry this is taking so long."
"What are you talking about. This was a pretty drive . . . we got to see the mountain that looked like lava was coming out, we saw that cat crossing the road, and we're listening to good music. It's all good, Daddy."
Of course, they were right. Normally, I get the fact that getting someplace is generally far less important than experiencing - and learning from - the journey. I am the guy who tells everyone else that "it's about the journey, not the destination" when I am talking about almost everything life has to offer us. A singular focus on where you are going, literally or metaphorically, often leads you to fly right past doors, exits, or other places that could provide you with new, exciting and enriching experiences; it's called living consciously, and staying off autopilot. But due to some combination of factors - our failed quest, eagerness to be home, other stress or baggage - I was unable to see this clearly yesterday.
Sometimes I truly wonder who's the kid and who's the parent.
"It's not about the destination, it's about the journey." Thanks, guys.