You hear it all the time. The old axiom for finding contentment in life: enjoy the journey. Here’s a little tip for learning how to do just that.
At one of our fancy buffet breakfasts at the hotel I asked my kids some questions. I did this on a middle day of the vacation. We had done some fun stuff and we still had fun stuff to do.
#1: What has been your favorite part of the vacation so far? (I tried to use the term “kodak moment” to describe this. Fail.) So they talked. Their voices raised as they remembered fun moments. We rehearsed lines from the Avengers movie in unison. Arms flailed describing the comical encounter with the sloth. We laughed together recalling chattering teeth as we swam in the rain.
#2: What do you miss about home? Our pets came at the top of the list; unanimous. Raimy missed her keyboard. Timothy had some video games awaiting him. Gabrielle wanted to hug her huge stuffed animals. Tyler craved gaming with his brother. Kaitlynn kept with the pets talking of our dog and birds. I missed my gourmet coffees and the specialized coffee brewers in my kitchen.
#3: Is there anything you have done everyday, including today? This rounded the conservation out and brought them back to the present. Their answers came from the buffet table. Everyone shared a food they ate everyday: cereal, salami, pastries, juice, etc. Thus my segway to talk about that day’s activities.
I learned a similar technique during the debriefing sessions of my short-term mission years. These talks took place at the end of the trip. I just felt like I wanted to do it with my kids at the middle of the trip.
An interesting thing took place. After the ten hour bus trip from Santa Cruz we awoke to a bright orange sunrise behind the statue of Christ in Cochabamba. From the bus terminal we took a cramped taxi ride to our home. Timothy led the discussion. His happy voice recounted almost word for word the deliberate discussion we had that middle-morning at breakfast. Instead of grumbling about returning to exams and the mundane, their minds sprouted seeds of good thoughts.
This can work at any stage in life. Take a moment to look back and be happy about good moments. Then remember the good in the daily routines of your life. After that, focus on the goodness awaiting you in the day given to you right now.