Life is not a destination, enjoy the journey

It was a long time ago. So long ago that I can hardly remember the journey. We were taking a three-day train trip from Edmonton to Toronto with two small children to attend my husband’s parents’ 50th anniversary.

We had a special deal by travelling before school was out and riding in ancient Pullman cars. The dining car was replaced by a sandwich shop and the food was included in the package.

Oh, what fun we were going to have. Sleeping in berths—my husband and our son in the upper, I and our daughter in the lower.

I was armed with books to read, games to play, surprises to spice up the time, teddy bears, a few snacks, and plenty of extra clothing for our trip.

By the time we were in our seats, I was exhausted. I settled back and remembered all the fun train rides I had taken on The New York Central in my college years.

During my wool-gathering, we left the station and the familiar landmarks slipped by. Just as we left the city limits, the four-year-old boy eagerly piped up, “Are we almost there yet?”

With all that promise of fun, the little boy only wanted to get to the end of the journey!

Unfortunately, some people approach their lives that way, forgetting that life is a journey, not a destination.

It’s very important to remember that life must always be lived in the present moment. Life is just way too short to focus on the past and the future, while the present slips by like scenery in a railway car.

In his book “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind,” Dr. Deepak Chopra says that “the present is for action, for doing, for becoming and growing.”

“Your real home is in this place, at this time . . . your body is perfectly set up to live in the present, and acquires its greatest joy and satisfaction there.”

The older you are, the more important it is to live in the present.

Says Chopra, “Old age is a grace if you reach it with joy, creativity, and curiosity. These qualities require living fully in the present moment.”

At its best, life is a wonderful journey. A journey on a long, winding road filled with beautiful sights and, unfortunately, unforeseen twists.

Health professional Marilyn Landreth says one of her special joys is taking cross-country automobile trips, and on many of these trips she either has had to take a detour or missed a turn-off.

Life is full of such detours and wrong turns. A flight is cancelled. A health problem surfaces. Unexpected house guests arrive. And when those things happen, questions Landreth, are you tempted to ignore some beautiful sights and opportunities while you focus on what you had to miss?

Landreth concludes that the only really happy people are the ones who can enjoy the scenery when they have to take a detour.

So what about you? Do you focus on the present? Do you enjoy the scenery when life re-routes you? And do you always remember that life is a journey, not a destination?

Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit