Mat and I don’t watch a lot of shows – we don’t even have a television. Of the few we try to catch, one that often brings a smile is NCIS New Orleans®. Scott Bakula’s lead character sends his agents out into the city to, as he says, ‘learn things’. We seem to have adapted this idea to our life, and no matter the situation, that has become a goal. Perhaps all of our travel together has had that as a backstory, but it is quite apparent these days in life in San Diego. It’s been a year and a half in a new city, with new career goals, new people, and new adventures and ‘learn things’ has become a constant.
“The journey not the arrival matters.” – T.S. Eliott
Many of our new experiences have been fantastic, but, as with everything and everyone, there are times that it doesn’t always go as planned, things turn out a different way, unexpected trials take place and the whole doesn’t wind up as great as the parts originally sounded. What do you do then? How do you get back to the good, back to the true you, back to knowing that it doesn’t have to be exactly as expected and that sometimes what initially seem like bumps along the way provide an even greater life experience than at first thought? Although it can take awhile to get to that spot where you’re no longer annoyed, saddened, irked or sitting amidst anything other than that pure joy you expected, the twist takes place. In a quick Jedi mind flip, you regain your positivity, you find the moment of shift where you say, I’ve learned something and right then the entire situation spins on its head. The light in your eyes, the smile on your face, the joy of the journey all return and you’re seeing again through new and sparkling eyes.
“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” – Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh
What have you learned? Perhaps you’ve now figured out what things are really important and what truly matters to you. Perhaps it’s ‘this isn’t the job for me’ or ‘now I know what I’m not looking for, even though I’m not exactly sure what I am looking for, yet’. Perhaps it’s finding a newfound fondness for sight-seeing in cities or learning to love to dance in the rain or even learning that missing out on that last entry time to a museum means you now have the time to wander aimlessly in this new space taking in the views and magic of a sunset. For us, ‘learn things’ translates to cultivating perspective, reimagining your journey and always searching for the positive. It takes work, it isn’t always easy, it isn’t always pretty and there are times that it takes far longer to arrive at that twist than you would like – but the journey matters and the destination is a new you.
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius
Through travel and life, we continue to learn things. A situation can be worse, a job can be changed, a career can be rebooted, and a city can be rebuilt. You can move, you can change, you can learn, you can grow, you can try new things, you can stumble, you can test the waters and you can never control Mother Nature. If a job turns out not to be what you expected – learn something. If a trip isn’t all you imagined – learn something. If a friendship isn’t feeling the best – learn something. Find people, spaces and work that make you feel like the best you you can be. Remember who you are, of what you’re capable and that you’re without question, stronger than you think. Along the way, things won’t always turn out the way you expected. Learn things, find perspective, challenge yourself, pick yourself up, reimagine the possibilities, and try again. There’s always another way, another choice, another possibility. Learn things…it makes a difference and truly matters.
“Learn things!” – Agent Dwayne Cassius Pride, NCIS New Orleans®