Where's your Focus? The Journey or the Destination?
Why Hello there,
I have the privilege to be sitting outside in the beautiful sun as I finish up crafting this blog. I'll skip the long intro and just say that I'm happy that Vancouver weather has finally decided to participate in summer- and I'm sure we all couldn't be more excited.
Okay, so this post is going to be short, sweet and presented as a running narrative. It's a thought I want to voice before it escapes my consciousness.
Before going on, ask yourself the question posed in the title:
Where is your focus? The Journey or the Destination?
Ask the Samantha from a month ago, 80% sure that destination would have been my response, however, my past couple weeks of "relaxation' have been very refreshing. The past few weeks have magically proved to me that, when it comes to life's experiences, it's far more beneficial to appreciate the journey of it all, rather than the destination that it takes us to. Hopefully, if that doesn't make sense right now, it will by the end of this.
Ironically I discovered this lesson of "journey loving" after encountering two different instances, both revolved around something I love- coffee shops.
Anyone who knows me well may know that I have a "thing" for coffee. Attraction, addiction, call it what you want. Originally, my obsession with hot beverages started with tea. But, it wasn't too long until my tongue grew brave enough to get accustomed to the bitter taste of coffee. Once I could tolerate the taste, my body became dependent on the extra caffeine- and well, I was hooked.
Shamelessly this coffee addict turned into a café addict which lead me to discover one of my favorite hobbies.
Something I like to call…
I always thought that I enjoyed cafés for the intrinsic value. In other words, finding somewhere with a good tasting brew. If not the taste of the actual cup of coffee, I figured it was mostly due to the actual physical space of the calming shop itself.
Either way, I was convinced that it’s the coffee shop that I appreciated the most- at least that's what I imagined…
Slowly, this new form of recreation has become a common trend for the millennial-college student like myself, haha.
Arguably, I've even made it a process. It all starts by choosing a part of the city I want to be in, then locating a space that has the perfect study spots; one that serves the best-tasting drinks, not too busy, yet just enough noise.
After finding a quaint cafe next, is to order a pretty drink; maybe even attempt to stage a few "artsy" photo's. Following these steps, all that's left is to embrace the aesthetic and then potentially complete some type of work.
It's really become an afternoon affair of self-care.
Last semester downtown Vancouver stole my heart. I made it my quiet goal of mine to find new café's around the city. There's something about both old and new cafes that provide the perfect environment for the self-proclaimed old-soul, like me. They render the perfect setting for both the extroverted and introverted sides of me.
Particularly, this past semester, I loved that I could happily engage in all sorts of introspective activities to help me recharge whenever I felt as though I was lacking an outgoing mood. People watching, thinking, writing reading articles, or researching too deep into a random topic are all activities that help me feel renewed but are also a type of recreation.
Last week I went to this cute spot called BREKA a 24-hour bakery and coffee spot, hidden behind a corner off of Brute Street. After a long visit, I was gathering my things in preparation to leave and grabbed my mug in order to return it. When placing the can on the counter I realized how heavy the cup was. While staring into my mug, that was still almost halfway full, something dawned on me.
It’s fairly rare that I ever actually finish the whole cup of coffee when I venture to these cafes. As I mentioned before I was always under the impression that taste and aroma of a good cup of coffee is what attracted me the cafes... I mean, isn't that the point of café hunting?
Yeah…that's what I thought too.
Later that week, still feeling a little off, I decided to quickly venture to my go-to spot, Prado café. I had a limited amount of time I figured I would rush downtown, hop off the train and speed walk my way over to Prado. Once I arrived, I quickly ordered a drink sat down and whipped open my laptop.
Except, like earlier that week, something was a little strange about this visit. After being hyperaware of the fact that the taste of coffee wasn't the most important part of my café-hunting hobby, the entire practice didn't seem the same.
Underwhelmed, I still attempted to find some peace in the setting of Prado. But, then another lightbulb went off. What struck me this time was an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction with space.
I realize this all sounds very trivial, and that's because it is. But, by this point, I was unsettled, a little frustrated, and felt like I had wasted my time, SO I decided to just get up and start walking. After about 45 minutes of strolling around with no true endpoint in mind, I finally turned to google maps to look up somewhere that I thought would be fitting. A quick glance at my phone screen forced me to notice the time and per usual the stress set in.
As much as I wanted to find a cool novel spot, I kept telling myself I couldn't afford to risk the possibility of wasting any more time getting lost. I needed to be sure I would be there on time for a meeting and figured I would just head home.
Sigh... it pains me to think back to how dramatic I can be sometimes. We all are though in our own ways.
Ironically, once reorienting myself, I realized that I was standing just a block away from where I started. Around the corner, there I was standing in front of the huge glass window of café Prado again. Strolling aroud got me so lost in my thoughts that I didn't fully register where I was.
That's the major key in this entire story.
Okay, Samantha what's the point? Where is this all leading too?
As I went back inside, something dawned on me for the second time that week. Clearly, I had been mistaken. Cafes are not what I find so much delight in. It's not so simple. No, it's the experience, and activities surrounding coffee shops that I find soothing.
Forget the actual physical space of a cafe, or the taste of a hot beverage I grown to love. Rather it's the entire process of locating a new space, then situating myself in it that became comforting.
It's the journey that I appreciated- the trip is what "filled my cup", so to speak.
Sounds cheesy, but it's true.
Self- care, comes from wandering through the streets of downtown Van. Shamelessly, ease dropping into the conversations of tourists, wondering where their next destination was, as I searched for mine. There's something so satisfying about aimlessly roaming around with only a faint idea of where you want to end up. Window shopping, admiring the modern and old architect, and simply just getting lost in thought. Some days its people watching. Others its deep thoughts; potentially accompanied by some mellow beats and a therapeutic stroll are all apart of the adventure to the next cafe.
Life can sometimes make us feel so small the same way wandering through a major city can. Feeling tiny sometimes leaves me feeling a little lost and overwhelmed.
Wandering through the city can be refreshing; there's so much to be discovered in the heart of Vancouver.
Similarly, there's so much to discover through the unpredictable course of life, that if you blink too slowly you'll miss it.
I continue to grow fond of the fact that the scope of the inner streets, leave so many hidden gems (in my case café's to discover). There's no clear path to finding any of them, and that's fine as long as I enjoyed the trip getting there.
Remember when I said that this may just be the shortest post I ever write on this blog?
Yea. I lied.
Only becuase I couldn't let this sentiment slip away.
Personally, throughout the last few years, I've found it easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of getting to 'the end'. Whether that's accomplishing something, or meeting a deadline. Being so focused on the end-goal may cause you to miss out on the on fully appreciating the people and experiences that got me to that 'final destination'.
Sometimes it's better to skip the what if thinking and just go! What if I get lost? What if I don't have enough time? What if the plan doesn't work out as intended?
BUT, What if you don't get lost? What if by getting lost you're led to a better path? What if you end up having all the time you need (and maybe more)? What if things don't work out as I expected, but turn out even better.
I no longer believe it’s best to choose one path and stick to it for fear of the "What If's". Limited benefits come from being blinded or scared of a dynamic journey it takes to get from point A to point B.
A roadblock doesn't automatically mean a dead end, it often just means a detour.
Being stuck on one plan can crush you if it doesn’t work out, or restrict you to a route that may not actually be the best, or worse, you'll find yourself in a rut. That's why my trip to Prado, the other day was so unfulfilling, it was rushed there was no adventure. I was too focused on getting there, and getting out, rather than appreciating the trip in itself.
But this is all easier said than done of course. What helps? Flexibility.
Adaptability is a beautiful virtue that makes appreciating the journey a whole lot easier. Learning how to efficiently acclimate to the ebbs and flow of life, builds character and resiliency. For my fellow young adults, I believe something we should all be working on. I know the whole account of comes across very theatrical, but believe me, it was all too real. Walking around that day had me living in the moment- something I hope to do more of in a healthy way. If you're constantly consumed with what could be? or has been, how about centering your attention on what is. If nothing else, maybe just be aware that life teaches you a lesson in funny ways.
Force yourself to enjoy the process, embrace the uncertainty, and find a balance between trying to complete your journey, and save time to admire the little hiccups and trials of adventures along the way. Appreciate every dainty stroke that goes into painting your big picture. Do you really think that an artist completes their picture without appreciating all the inevitable splatters of diversion that supplement the planned intricate details?
I don't think so,
but, that's just me,