Recently I joined a meetup for avid hikers. I adore hiking. Why meetup? That's simple. My friends don't crave it like I do nor do I have a partner at this time to join me. Not a big deal at this point, so why divulge this?
On a recent weekend camping trip with this group, I met a woman (let's name her Julie), and it was a comment she made that struck me. I've given a lot of thought to what she said and the possible implications. You may identify...
First thing first, though. At the bare minimum, Julie was brave, confident, smart (a RN like me) and sociable! Like me, she signed up for a weekend of camping alone. We were a group of 20-25 people of all ages, some with friends, some alone and others as couples.
It was on Saturday after a morning hike that Julie made a a statement to me that was the impetus for this post. "I thought there would be more people; there is no one interesting". Now I was quite sure that her reference meant that she was not romantically interested in anyone on this trip.
Yes, meetups can be about making a romantic connection between like minded individuals. Sounds great to me too!! Yet, at the same time I wondered to myself, did you really climb that mountain this morning? Or did your body simply put one foot in front of the other? Did you hear the water gushing over the rocks or did your thoughts drown the sounds? Did the crisp air tingle your nose? Did the smoores last night bring back a beautiful childhood memory? How can you find 20 people uninteresting even if you don't find your heart's desire?
My bet is that she loves hiking, finds waterfalls exhilarating, campfires cozy and meeting new people exciting. Could this intelligent, brave woman have been so focused on the goal of meeting someone that, on a very basic level, she missed the whole trip? Missed the opportunity to make a friend, connect with someone professionally or even make a memory of some crazy campfire story. The idea of missing 48 beautiful hours really scared me. I understood her goal. Darn, it's mine to!!! The difference is that my primary goal was to hike with people who wanted to hike. Guaranteeing me success every time which translates to a peaceful, quiet mind and presence in the moment.
Reliance on the end result means you can miss the beautifully decorated hallways, corridors and sitting rooms as you run to the the grand ballroom only to find it empty because you missed all the signs pointing to a dimly lit parlor. It is possible that these types of disappointments can grey a lifetime of beautifully decorated byways.
Let your goals guide you; let them open doors but as you walk through them keep your eyes open, look up and look down, listen, taste and keep your heart open to the people walking through that same door alongside you right now.