There’s a romantic notion associated with travel and progress. There’s a romantic idea associated with it, promoted by capitalism, rampant capitalism gone wrong.
First of all, that romantic idea is promoted by marketing and ad agencies working for resorts and airlines and who knows what else. It is a completely self-serving industry, even if I do like to travel.
I love to travel, no doubt about it.
I also like capitalism. I’m not a socialist, I’m a moderate – I still like things, I just realize that I don’t need all of the things and even having all of the things may not make me happy, especially if all I have is everything.
Everything is too much, anyway. I only need enough 😉
There’s a notion that travel can be measured in miles, that progress can always been seen, that production is measured by a product, and this isn’t wrong.
It just isn’t completely right. A wiser mind than mine said, “Everything is relative.”
The same person told me to eat my veggies. Ew, gross.
If you’re comparing yourself to others, sure, you might be farther ahead in life, or not. You might have more money, or not. You might be more attractive, more successful personally or professionally – or not.
You might be happy, or not.
Conventional wisdom is to compare yourself to others, to gauge your own progress to others in similar shoes. For most people, there will be someone better than you at each and everything you do, as well as someone worse.
This is what we call a red herring, and a logical fallacy, and a conundrum, all in one. I’ll tell you why.
A red herring is a piece of information in an argument that doesn’t mean anything, intentionally distracting information.
Don’t look behind you.
…and if you did? Nothing.
Why would there be?
You aren’t going to compare yourself to someone worse than you – there’s no point. You aren’t going to gauge your progress against someone who has stopped progressing – because there isn’t a point to that, either. That is the logical fallacy; that these unfavorable comparisions are doing you any good.
You aren’t going to compare yourself to someone in your shoes, simply because that person is the same; and noone is you. Each life is different. Your life is different. His, hers, theirs.
Conventional wisdom, comparing yourself to the people around you, worked in elementary, middle, high school, and even in college. There’s the best in class, the worst, and everyone else. Most of us fall somewhere in between.
Once you’re out and off into the world, living and dreaming, eating and sleeping and sleeping alone or even around, there’s no one like you, you beautiful little butterfly.
Here’s the conundrum. You can go to work every single day for a year, live in the same apartment or home or condo, having the same amount of money in your bank account every single month. . .
And no progress will have been made.
You can do that – and be a completely different person.
Progress and production and travel are all interrelated in this conversation – distance traveled can be measured in miles. Production, with a tangible product. Progress is much less tangible.
If you go to Venice Beach, you’ll take some pictures, you’ll have something to show. You’ll have some likes on the ‘gram. You’ll have some zeroes and ones on a hard drive in a data center someone, on the cloud.
Zeroes and ones on a hard drive, that is tangible stuff.
Personal growth – that’s intangible. Sometimes you can be so much in the thick of it, life and living and the personal struggles, the tragedies and stress that go along with it, that you won’t see the progress.
You’ll look behind you, and see the year past – the good and bad.
You won’t see yourself.
You won’t see how you changed, every single day, how you grew stronger each and every day with every obstacle and trial surmounted. How the best day of your life buoyed you forward, how the worst passed and has slowly faded into a distant memory.
An ancient fable tells of the ship of Theseus of Athens, a ship that existed as part of the Athenian Navy for a hundred years. Year after year, regular maintenance replaced this plank and that, until not one original piece of the ship remained. Was this ship, a hundred years later, still the ship of the great Thesus of Athens, people would ask.
Does it matter, I have to ask. . . because I hope you already know the answer.
I’m trying to drive home a complex argument.
Are you stuck in the same place, running in circles, or are you like, a caterpiller-like human person thing that does personal growth stuff and, like, other stuff?
Every day is a new day, every step, forward or back, a step forward, and every day a new opportunity.
Vince Lombardi once said of the Green Bay Packer’s loss in some bowl game, super something or the other, “We didn’t lose the game, we just ran out of time.”
It isn’t over until it’s over, and it’s never over.
So, Carpe Diem.
Seize the carp.
Eat the carp.
Cook it first. 🙂