Where are you going?
Or more precisely, where are we going? Where are you taking us?
You stand on the shoulders of giants and without your ancestors, you would not be able to inhale or exhale a single breath, or clumsily manage a simple step. You are going for them.
You also belong to a family. An extended family. A family that includes some characters, but all of them share your passion and devotion. You are going for them too.
There are also so many people you have met along the way, but perhaps didn’t make time to notice until now, that have collectively contributed so immeasurably to your life, in so many hidden ways. Unsung heroes and heroines. You are going for them as well.
But where are you going?
I ponder that question daily. I give thanks each morning for being able to take a breath, and quickly count the blessings in my life. What remains is to begin asking what’s next.
What’s next? Where should I go? What should we do?
Why? How? When? Where?
I have learned much from Mr. Zig Ziglar, but one of the most beautiful metaphors I ever heard is the one about being a ship in the harbour.
It takes great effort to sail and the ocean is often a very dangerous place to be. Navigation is crucial and no picnic either. But any ship anchored in the harbour, does not share a better fate. Inevitably it rusts and serves no ultimate purpose.
You and I must guard each other so we do not resign ourselves into being anchored by a melancholy shore.
Ships were built to sail. You and I were born to see the world.
We have to sail with purpose. We have to live with gusto. We have to tread the waters of our lives with determination and freedom.
But not absolute freedom.
Absolute freedom is a dangerous illusion.
Freedom is not an absence from something. It is a choice to be enslaved by something.
If you bellow the word freedom from the top of the mast, and refuse or seek any direction, you will die alone, somewhere in the undiscovered vastness of the ocean.
The ocean is a vast and often unforgiving, but so is life, if you don’t care to discover or ask where you are going.
For this reason, we need a compass.
This is why we need respect and obey the Northern Star.
In order to get anywhere in life, we must suspend our stubborn, unapologetic notion of doing what we want because we have always done it. We have to choose a new path. A direction of discomfort and trepidation.
We need to pick a new untrodden trail and unequivocally respect our journey. Obey the laws and directions of that journey. Be aware and ready for the impending weather, and adjust accordingly for the unapologetic rotation of the earth.
We need a compass.
A good compass.
We need a Northern Star.
A good plan.
From someone wise.
Only then and only armed with a good compass, can we navigate our very own ocean.
We cannot sail without direction. If we do, we will be left alone to our own frustration and the misery of some wretched company.
If we sail with a compass, we will dock in many unimaginable ports. Learn many things. Exchange ideas with unbelievably gifted people.
We will live a life we could never otherwise have imagined.
A life invisible if you are resigned to stand on the shore or be docked in the harbour.