We design goals to make life more fulfilling. But once something has been checked off, that’s all it becomes. A thing done, and moved on from.
For example - a cup of tea is meant for enjoying slowly, not to be consumed all at once. It’s the lead-up to the completion of the goal - or rather, the sipping and savoring of the tea - where ultimate pleasure lies.
Once the tea is finished - what’s the actual objective that’s been satisfied - The consumption of the beverage, or the enjoyment of the drink?
What good is the empty cup, if you didn’t enjoy each sip?
My father died 2 days after moving into his new home - a home that took nearly 2 years to build. Now it lies dormant in the middle of nowhere - completely isolated in central Turkey. A home that held so many dreams, now wasted on the rats and bugs that reside in place of him.
It’s still sad for me to admit but - I don’t think that home turned out how he had envisioned. Imagine a lonely man, building a shoddy castle, that he eventually realizes, is in fact - a complete failure. Something, so far from fantasy, that instead of simply making the best of reality, he succumbs to allowing it to be the physical embodiment of all the he couldn’t get right in life.
During those final moments, when blood spewed and splattered across every curtain & wall of his new home, I associate a kind of loneliness with this image that’s so deep - that to this day - I don’t think I’ve yet fully processed it’s potential existence. How sad, sadness can truly get.
But I also can’t help but recall , the glee and joy in which he first announced this home project to me 2.5 years ago. Over the phone, his energy was boundless. He spoke of raising chickens, having a little Japanese pond where he’d have Gold fish swimming in, cows to milk, a friendly dog to keep him company, a beautiful gate that overlooked a pretty garden. A utopian sanctuary tailored to his fantasies. His reason to see through to the next chapter of life - with hope and optimism. The masterpiece he always wanted to create in his lifetime.
Maybe that was the biggest accomplishment of all. One that he conquered - without even knowing that he did. The desire to create something special, and the chipping away at that very thing. It’s the work leading up to the completion - the sweat, tears & fantasy for what’s to be - that propels everything forward.
And even when the end product doesn’t meet our standards, it becomes the basis for what will come after it. It’s often our adaptation to reality that secures happiness - as opposed to every detail of our fantasy coming to fruition.
I look forward to the day when I can teach you how to properly sip and savor the tea dad. And even if you gulp it all down, and still feel sad - just know that i’ll be smiling right by your side. With nothing but pride, and good natured humor.
(Originally Published 4/2/19)