We’ve all seen memes on social media professing “It’s Not About Getting to the Top, It’s About Trusting Your Journey” or some similar sentiment. These digital would-be encouragements stir up strong reactions in me, which differ depending on my circumstance. Some mornings, after a good night’s sleep and a sunrise run, I’m all about embracing the journey. Sure, life is hard. There are unpaid bills and between kids, marriage, and work, there is no time left for anything resembling self. But, this is the life I chose and I choose to enjoy it. I choose a path of conscious appreciation.
Cue a heartwarming montage of pastoral family bike rides, home-cooked organic meals with friends, and grateful patients progressing under my thoughtful guidance. I have it all. I love it all! I’m trusting my journey and winning!
Other days (like most of them) I wake up exhausted, and throw on yesterday’s outfit as I hop down the hallway to collect the screaming toddler who doubles as my alarm clock. Babe in arms, I stagger down the stairs into the kitchen where I make peanut butter toast with one hand, and fashion a paper towel coffee filter with the other. The toddler smears the peanut butter on the sofa as I sip my grind-filled coffee and glance at today’s schedule on my phone. Oh shit! After carpool I have to finish a report by 10am, attend the annual Muffins with Mommies lunch at the big kid’s school at noon, and return to work for a 1pm client I can’t reschedule since I did that once already when the baby was sick.
I look at the clock in a panic. We need to leave in 20 minutes, the big kid is not dressed, fed, or even awake, and lunches are unmade. I should gulp down my coffee and pack bento boxes like a ninja, but instead, I sit on the couch in slothlike denial and distract myself with Facebook.
That’s when it happens. A woman, seated serenely on the beach, her legs twisted in perfect double lotus position, gazes out over the glorious ocean waves and tells me to… trust my journey.
This does not inspire a sense of serenity. No indeed! It inspires raw, sanctimonious rage!
I’ll tell you what you can trust! You can trust that today’s journey will include the shoving of this meme right up your yoga-panted asana. Yeah, you read that correctly. Take that, Brené Brown! In truth, I love Brené, but I need a strong cup of properly filtered coffee before I can absorb all that positivity.
I can’t take the journey memes any longer!
If I had a meme it would look like this:
Or possibly: You Made it Through Your Day and No One Died – Good Enough.
Late for a meeting? It’s cool. Earned your kid a tardy slip for arriving after the bell? No problem. It’s all Good Enough because I just punched that Journey Meme right in its metaphorical face. (I’m not condoning actual violence here, just a little meme-to-meme scuffle. My Good Enough meme can totally kick your Journey Meme’s yoga bunny butt!) Now don’t you feel better? I know I do!
I should come full circle to a thoughtful summary detailing all the philosophical reasons why you should, in fact, trust your journey, and should not, in retrospect, sweat the small stuff. I could assert that everything happens for a reason, and implore you to conclude that it’s not about getting to the top, it’s about having the courage to start.
But hooray! I won’t!
I will tell you what is at the top of that over-referenced allegorical ladder. Not Giving a Shit is what’s at the top, and you, my friend, are nearly there. You just need to take that final, indifferent step. You’ve spent years toiling at work, countless hours parenting with the best of intentions, only to find that you’re juggling more than you can handle. But, hey look! You’ve reached the top, and your prize is Not Giving a Shit.
You’ve done your best, and for that you need not be confronted with even one more inspirational meme. I will not do that to you. Instead, I will leave you with this gem:
This is what’s at the top!