On Life and Dreams: It’s the Journey that Makes the Destination


Dreaming is not as easy as it used to be. It needs hard work, persistence. Not that I never knew it, it’s just as each year goes by, I realize more and more that there’s yet another depth and another dimension to this truth. Living life and realizing my dream is not a sprint. It’s much more like a marathon. Except that it’s beyond marathon: I don’t know how far ahead the finish line is, how much more I need to endure.

Milestones are just illusions. They’re but ephemeral marks conceived to ease the pain; to make the abstract becomes at least a bit more concrete, more calculable – thus giving one a sense of mastery over the unknownness of life.

I used to think that there’s this dream I need to work toward and at the end, upon achieving it, I will have my glorious moment, just like Disney’s Hercules. In fact, that movie’s song “Go the Distance“, Hercules’ prayer to the gods to help him find a place where he belongs, is one of my all time favorites for I also find the 15-year-old Hercules’ struggle to be a persistent struggle in my life: finding a community to belong, a place “where I’m meant to be.”

All these years I’ve always convinced myself that “I can go the distance … / I would go most anywhere / to feel like I belong.” The thing is, as years pass by, more and more I find that the “most anywhere” area is shrinking and saying “I don’t care how far / somehow I’ll be strong” is not so convincing anymore.

It is truer than ever that “I have often dreamed / of a far off place” but it’s less and less convincing that there’s actually that one “place” to belong. What I have with me is a compass instead of a map. So, when faced with obstacles, detours must be made and routes are to be adjusted. Sometimes new facts are found and even the destination itself needs to be updated.

These being said, I now think that in the end the “place” may very well be not the one conceived in the first place but one born out of the discoveries I make along the way. Discoveries both of my context and myself. So, the destination is actually a part of the journey. Not only the destination defines the journey, but I can affirmatively confirm the reverse, for the journey itself helps define the destination. It is in taking the journey that I create the destination.

The toughest element in this whole process thus far is coming to terms with how ephemeral many things in life are. Even friendships and many social settings are much more ephemeral than I would expect them to be. But, this is also part of the journey. Parting ways with the past is also a necessary step in creating the destination.

These milestones may be ephemeral, but they do require real decisions and real actions.

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