Taking the Scenic Route

Here’s a story (I promise it is brief):

A few times a year, my family will drive from Cleveland to Pittsburgh to visit some extended family for holidays, life events, etc. There are 2 main routes my dad uses to get there:

  1. The route with fewer tolls where it takes more time to get to our destination.
  2. The route with more tolls where it takes less time to get to our destination.

Despite complaints from the rest of us in the car, my dad prefers the first option. He calls it the “scenic route.” He likes it because it saves a few bucks and we usually aren’t in a huge rush.

As a 27-year-old, I don’t pretend to be an expert at life. However, I think there is a lesson here. I believe there are many areas of life where we should consider taking the scenic route. In my experience, taking the scenic route has almost always resulted in a much higher reward. In my dad’s case, taking the scenic route to Pittsburgh leaves him with a few extra dollars to buy himself a cup of coffee at Starbucks or whatever. That’s his reward! Remember, rewards can be big or small.

Here are some examples of areas where I really enjoy taking the scenic route:

Work. You are not going to walk into an office on the first day of a new job knowing everything you need to know. That sh*t doesn’t happen overnight. This also applies if you are starting a new project or working on something unfamiliar where you’ll need to expand your skillset. In any case, give your self a bit of time to get your bearings. You may encounter some failures, but those are simply opportunities to learn. If you take shortcuts, you won’t learn as much, which will result in limited success (or no success).

Health. I do NOT beleive in any sort of crash diet. I beleive that crash dieting is a shortcut — people who do them want results fast even though they are not very sustainable. As soon as one stops crash dieting, their body will return to its original state. Fitness should be a slow process where desired results can take several months or even years to achieve. Not days or weeks. 

Relationships. For many, myself included, there is a lot of trial and error when it comes to learning how to be in a romantic relationship. It takes time to learn about what you like in a partner, what you dislike in a partner, and how to be a good partner. This may mean ending relationships and starting new ones, or working on these things in unison with your significant other. There are two shortcuts when it comes to love: give up on it entirely or settle for something less than you desire. No thanks, I’ll take the scenic route.

Truth be told, I think the scenic route makes life worth living. People want instant gratification; however, they miss the beautiful ride when they take shortcuts. The challenges you encounter along the way make great stories.

The purpose of this blog post is to remind everyone that getting what you want in life can be a slow process, but it will be worth it once you get to your destination.

Another reminder: don’t forget to look behind you once in a while to see how far you’ve come.

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