What a Trip

posted in: Mindfulness | 3

This week, I’m excited to share the words of a very wise and inspirational person in my life, none other than my husband, Tim (or JT as I like to call him). Tim has a way of looking at the world that comes from living an adventurous life, open to possibilities. His motto? Life can be fun!

Susan and I have been taking a bunch of roadtrips lately and it has me thinking about travel and life choices. My memories of travel always include the experience of owning a travel agency in our small town. It was a fun few years. Didn’t make much money but it was fun!

Over those years I noticed something about our clients, some were diligent planners with every detail written down, checked and double checked and others were buy-a-roundtrip-ticket-and-just-wing-the-rest type of people. Both groups were comfortable, secure and happy with their travel choices. A big part of our travel niche was taking groups fishing and scuba diving in Baja (some locals still refer to me as Mister Vacation). In those days travel in Baja was, shall I say … unpredictable. We warned everyone of this fact and some took the “surprises” more in stride than others.

We are all familiar with numerous analogies between life and travel. “I’m on my life’s path,” “She takes the road less traveled,” “What is your career path?” “He’s living in the fast lane,” etc.

My Dad shared one of these analogies with me in the last few hours of his life and I have pondered it for more than 25 years. It was during a period when he was pretty lucid, he looked at me and softly spoke three simple words … “What a trip”

It’s always felt to me like he was mindful that his life was coming to an end and he summed up his lifetime in those three words … what a trip.

We are all on this journey of life. Some of us will try to plan every detail, even decades in advance, others will just wing it all. As I have gotten older, and hopefully wiser, I’ve learned that, like most things in life, there is a sweet balance between the two.

A few years back Susan and I had the honor of being at a gathering where Thich Nhat Hanh spoke. Many of the Buddhist teachings he shared focused on the value of “living in the present moment.” Thich Nhat Hanh had a wonderful sense of humor, soft, gentle and wise. On this day he received a chuckle from the crowd when he addressed the dichotomy of planning the future and living in the moment when he said, “My experience is that planning for the future takes place in the present moment.”

Our struggles in life tend to happen when we become too attached to the plans we’ve made for the future. No matter how detailed those plans are, life is filled with Baja-like surprises and speed bumps. Our happiness comes from being able to wing it when life throws the unplanned our way, to embrace the surprises and value the texture they add to our lives.

At the end it is my hope that I can look back on my life and declare …

What a trip!

3 Responses

  1. Charlotte Lippmann

    Just love that ! It’s so true . I am learning more and more to live in the present moment, especially enjoying my grandchildren but I do like a trip to look forward to . Hopefully Japan next year which will be magical .

      • Jeanne O. Harsha

        I love this! I am a “let’s wing it” person and my husband is the detailed planner so, most of the time, we balance each other out and go with the flow since there are always surprises. We’re just back from the Netherlands and I must say that the surprises turned out to be the most sweet!
        Thanks for your thoughtful posts❣️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *