I’m standing in line at the convenience store, listening to a twenty-something talk loudly on a Bluetooth. She’s telling the person on the other end of the phone line that she’s in “survival mode” and been that way since college. I wonder what motivates her to share her story, in this setting, with a room full of strangers. Maybe that’s what makes her comfortable - the knowledge that no one knows her personally.
She’s taking her time at the counter, oblivious to the line forming behind her and the storm brewing outdoors. I shiver. My short sleeve sweater isn’t keeping me warm in this air conditioning. It’s just damp enough outside to be irritating. I feel my patience dwindling. I’m embarking on the first leg of a forty day road trip and I don’t like driving when it’s dark.
The girl goes on and on about her life. She spares no detail. I want to tell her that she’s not the only one in survival mode. We all are. Our existence alone makes us survivors. We’re all just trying to make it to old age. I want her to understand that in five years it won’t matter and that in ten years, she’ll have a hard time remembering that pain, the one she spent precious minutes of her life expressing to others. The cashier completes the transaction and much to my relief, Miss Oversharer leaves through the same door she entered. In her newly found haste, she’s forgotten something. It’s not the receipt that she’s missing. It’s her heart she’s left it behind on the floor of the convenience store for everyone to step around.
It’s moments like these that I remember the saying that everyone you meet is a teacher and today’s lesson involves embracing the unknown. As a regular goal setter and self-proclaimed self-starter, I know what it takes to make my dreams come true. I also know about processes and how longing alone will not make things materialize. If that was the case, I would have won the lottery long ago.
After years of go-getting, however, I realize just how sweet the journey is. Sometimes, the greatest rewards aren’t found at the finish line. They’re subtly placed in front of us in the people that we meet and the things that we do along the way. The true prize is the one that we receive as we test the waters, go for the gold and spring into action. It isn’t necessarily the one we hoped for at the start of the journey.
Author Danielle Laporte’s new book, The Desire Map, confirms the necessity of feelings in the goal setting process. After all, it’s not the desired outcome that we seek in most cases. It’s the way that the achievement makes us feel. We’re highly emotional beings. We want to live the good life but we need to be straight about why that’s important to us. What do we hope to gain from losing weight, building successful businesses, traveling the globe and meeting “the one”? What parts of ourselves do we lose by not going after the things we wish for?
Although our time together was brief and she wouldn’t recognize me in a crowd of people if she tried, that girl in the convenience store taught me something new about myself. She taught me that if you stop what you’re doing and really listen, you’ll hear the sound of the heart of the person standing next to you. You’ll feel their desire and know their intention.
Now, I hope you’ll excuse me. I’ve got a heart to pick up, brush off, and return to someone. I better be quick about it, too, because she doesn’t realize it just yet, but she has a big, beautiful life waiting for her.
Charissa Struble is a freelance writer, social media manager, and internet marketer. Her hobbies involve traveling, photography, volunteering, journaling, and creating art. Some of the other publications she’s been involved with include: Intuit, Generation X Finance, WiseBread, and Easy Journaling. You can learn more about her and her travels by visiting www.girldogblog.com