Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.
We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent.
We are traveling by train.
Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars
on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing,
of cattle grazing on a distant hillside,
of smoke pouring from a power plant,
of row upon row of corn and wheat,
of flatlands and valleys,
of mountains and rolling hillsides,
of city skylines and village halls.
But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.
On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station.
Bands will be playing and flags waving.
Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true
and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.
How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering
--waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.
"When we reach the station, that will be it!" we cry.
"When I'm 18." "When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz!"
"When I put the last kid through college."
"When I have paid off the mortgage!"
"When I get a promotion."
"When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!"
Sooner or later we must realize there is no station,
no one place to arrive at once and for all.
The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream.
It constantly outdistances us.
It isn't the burdens of today that drive us mad.
It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.
Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.
So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.
Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream,
go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets,
laugh more, cry less. Life must lived as we go along.
The station will come soon enough.
- Robert Hastings