Learning to enjoy the journey

Which is more important: the journey or the outcome?

Although the blog is subtitled, “Learning to enjoy the journey,” I have always argued the outcome is the most important. The end of the journey is the focus. Anything along the way is simply there. It is fluff and helps endure the difficulties of the journey. 

I should have known better. I’d experienced the lesson several years ago. 

It’s amazing how small bits of inspiration years ago affect me today. When I was pondering titles for posts, I looked at the blog subtitle and realized I wasn’t trying to enjoy my journey, so I titled the post, saved it, knew I didn’t have anything to write yet, and set it aside. 

Today the inspiration struck. So here goes. 

The journey is at least as important as end. I think there are some strong arguments that it is more important. 

Life is more comparable to training rides than to a bike race. Training rides have purpose only to prepare you for the race. The race is obviously about the end. A race is to win and to finish first. 

But life is a preparation. Thus it’s similar to a training ride. 

And the end of a training ride brings only more preparation. Regardless of how far you ride, when you finish, there is work to do. When you get home, the recovery process starts. It’s time to stretch, eat, and get calories. 

The end of the journey is simply more work. 

It’s not really en end. So I began to love the rides. I began to look around. I began to enjoy the struggle of the hills, the wind of the descents, and the beauty of the scenery. 

Four summers ago, I learned to enjoy the journey and not get stuck on the end. 

Today that lesson made far more sense. 

It’s time to enjoy the struggles. It’s time to look up, even when I’m pushing hard. It’s not about getting to the end of the day. It’s not about fighting until there is a small reprieve. It’s about enjoying every moment. It’s about finding individual points of joy and glorying in those. 

Those points make up the journey. 

Why you should take up an endurance sport

I’m a sprinter. I’ve probably referenced this before. When I play volleyball, the only thing that matters is how fast I can get to a place on the floor within the gym. 

When I do things in life, I want similar results. I want immediate feedback. As a scientist, I like to perform controlled experiments that usually have predictable outcomes. 

But that’s not life. That’s not reality. Reality is so full of confounding variables that it’s very often difficult to tease out the things that most impact our success. 

Thus endurance sports are important to experience and understand. Nevermind the evolutionary argument that our bodies were primed over thousands of years to do endurance things. (It was a method of hunting for millennia; look it up.) Start running, swimming, cycling, or something that takes hours to accomplish so you can better understand the things you experience in life. (I suggest cycling. You go fast and see lots of things.)

Life is a multi-stage cycling race. Some people like to say marathons, but marathons are too short. Life is far more comparable to the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, or the Tour de France. 

Everyday we get on our bikes and ride to reach and accomplish goals. Every trial is a stage or series of stages. We have battles we fight every day and they drag on and on and on. A marathon is over in five hours. One cycling stage might be, but then the cyclists have to recover and prepare to to the same thing again the next day. 

So take up and endurance sport. Do something you enjoy, but do something that requires a significant time commitment. And take time as you run, hike, swim (boring), cycle, whatever to ponder how the things you do and are learning affect your life and your future. 

Ode to cycling

Our world is really beautiful. Yeah, inversion during the winter isn’t great (and it’s actually called pollution, btw), but the world is beautiful. 

In 2011, I spent most of the summer cycling 20+ hours per week. I’d start where I lived in Provo and go. One day I ended up in the podunk town of Kamas, about 40 miles away. Another day I ended up at the summit of the Nebo Loop. 

I saw more of Utah on my bike than I ever saw in a car. 

You contradict that and say, “Lee J, you’ve driven 30,000+ miles in utah in your car, and rode only 1,000 miles on your bike!”

That’s true, but on my bike I could see. I saw the places I was going. I saw the things around me as I passed them. I saw more of the state on my bike than I’ve seen in my car. 

I miss that a lot. It was tough training that often. Twenty hours each week is equivalent to a job, and eating enough food to maintain my mass was really hard. But I gained a ton of perspective from viewing God’s creations and landscapes on my bike. 

I grew because I took time for myself. Time in quantities I haven’t taken since. Perhaps time that I might need to return to doing. 

Cycling is great. Wave at me when I pass you on the road. 

Season of thanks: Sight

I’ve had a few experiences over the last few weeks and a dream last night that make me very grateful for the ability to see the world around me.  Arguably, this is the most important of the five senses (in direct conflict with touch–think of a child and a stovetop).  Although not absolutely crucial, it probably does the most to enrich our perception of the world.

I like to take multiple-hour bike rides.  I have seen more beauty from the seat of my bike than I ever could express in words (great way to see beautiful things, btw).  I spent several hours climbing 20 miles to see 360˚ panoramas of southern Utah County from the top of the Nebo loop.

 

I’ve also enjoyed the backside of Mt. Timpanogos while returning from a ride to Kamas (not really a destination people might want to go, but a beautiful ride.  Obviously I would not be able to type without some understanding of where the keys are and what I am typing–most easily accessible through sight.

However, I think I would be able to function without sight (not saying I want to).  Several times I have acted as though I were blind just to do it.  Occasionally, I end up with bruises or cuts because I mis-remember where things are or take a corner too late (and too fast), but empathy is what pretending to be blind is about, right?

Conclusion: be grateful for the little things that you might take for granted.