I ought to think of life like a hike, and I ought to enjoy the entirety of hiking more.
It’s important to always push forward, to keep improving, to keep climbing. Every now and then, you get to a stopping point. You catch your breath and enjoy the view. You see how far you’ve come from your last stopping point. These are your accomplishments and milestones. But you enjoy the break for only so long before you continue your hike. If you keep this up, you will get pretty far.
There’s a healthy balance of progress and breaks. As you hike, sometimes it’s necessary to focus on one step at a time—because it’s hard, or it’s been a while since your last stopping point. So it’s equally important to allot enough time to take in your surroundings when you’re at your stopping points. You need to remind yourself of the bigger picture. Recalibrate. Set your next course.
For most of my life, I definitely only enjoyed the accomplishments, and I hated or ignored the process of getting there. I always valued the result. But when you’re hiking, you spend the majority of the time in the process of getting somewhere, and once you’re there, you’re only there for a relatively short amount of time before you embark on the process of getting somewhere again. That’s far too little of the hike being enjoyed.
I’ve recently been getting better at enjoying the process. I can hack around the problem a bit by redefining a longer process to be the accumulation of several small goals, but the better solution is just to learn to enjoy all of it. It’s a pretty sad hiking experience otherwise if you can’t enjoy over 95% of it.