I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker today. He and I have had a lot of interesting conversations over the last ten years about the challenges we face in our lives. We have a lot of similarities in terms of work and family and life.
He said something interesting. And this isn’t quite it, but it’s how I’m going to modify it for my purposes. There are two kind of people. Those who are okay with what is and don’t push real hard for more. And those who never stop looking for something. There’s nothing wrong with either group.
The truth is, and longtime readers of this blog will know this, that I’m in the second group. I am a yearner, which is how my co-worker described it. We yearn. And, the truth is that yearning is what defines us. There’s a saying that addresses this. It’s not about the destination but the journey. We are constantly looking for it, when the reality is that the search is actually “it.”
Listening to my co-worker today provided me with that epiphany. I have spent years wondering when I would have the opportunity to find it. I have always thought that there would be a moment when I finally found the place I needed and wanted to be — physically, emotionally, mentally, artistically. It was just a question of continuing the search.
Another friend and I have had numerous conversations about this as well. What we discuss is how much we wish we were in that first group. That we could just accept what is and stop our constant analysis of and search for what could be better than what is. It certainly seems that people in that first group have it easier. They just seem calmer, less ruffled by life’s trials. They find a hobby or two that fills their free time for years and they are satisfied and happy. They just get through the day, and do it all over the next day. There are so many times when I wish I could do that. It seems odd, when all I wish I could do is stop and smell the roses, it seems the people in the first group actually spend more time doing that than me.
But I yearn.
It’s why I made my own beer for a few years and then stopped.
It’s why I golfed for a few years and stopped.
It’s why I tried to learn classical guitar and stopped.
It’s why I coached my kids in their youth sports for a dozen years and when they were done, I was done no matter how much others pleaded with me to stay coaching for other kids.
It’s why, with my kids now 18 and 21, I’m “done” with the job of parenting them and so desperately want them to take on the responsibility for their lives. So, I can move on to the next chapter. Continue the search.
It’s why I look back at this weekend and am not satisfied. Even though I finished writing a short story. Even though I had some quality time with the family. Even though I took a run that went well. Even though I got a couple of hours at the river and took some incredible pictures.
Even though all of those good things happened, I was still unsatisfied. Something was missing. It wasn’t enough. And what I realize now is that’s just me. It will never be enough because the search will never end. It will never be fulfilled.
It’s why I am frozen these days. There are so many things I want to do, to try, to experience, and I can’t decide which is next. So I do none of it and that failure to choose one and go searching via that choice is part of what I think has left me feeling empty these days.
That’s what I think I learned from what my co-worker said today. We yearners are defined by the search, by the journey. We are not defined by what we find at the end because the reality is that there never is an end for us. There is always something more.
And I’m okay with that. I want to be that person who never stops searching. It’s time though that I get back into it. The search. It’s who I am and I haven’t been that person much lately. It’s time to yearn again.