I believe that life is a journey. And, that on this journey we should always be moving forward. That means we should be learning, growing, changing, becoming more mature. I am in my early seventies and I am continuing to change and grow. I have a hunger to read and learn. I am interested in so many things and want to experience new things on at least a weekly basis. I get bored really fast and this helps me to continue to move forward on the journey.
I recently read an amazing and candid book called “Becoming” by Michele Obama. I am not a political person and read it because it was recommended highly by my sister and her adult daughter. It was an amazing read. Michelle Obama is an amazing writer and has had an amazing life both before and after her eight years as First Lady of the United States of America.
In her book, the epilogue, she writes, “At fifty-four, I am still in progress, and I hope that I always will be. For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end. I became a mother, but I still have a lot to learn from and give to my children. I became a wife, but I continue to adapt to and be humbled by what it means to truly love and make a life with anther person. I have become, by certain measures, a person of power, and yet there are moments still when I feel insecure or unheard. It is all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigour. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.” (Becoming by Michelle Obama, page 419)
One of my first mentors always said that many people suffer from “Destination Disease.” They set a goal and work hard to achieve it. And, when they achieve it they begin to live like they have arrived. They have reached their destination. They don’t set new goals. They don’t find a new vision for their life. They simply, at best, coast through the rest of their life … or park and stop growing.
When I first heard the teaching and then later read it in one of his books I determined that I would never “arrive.” I would never catch “Destination Disease.” I want to continue growing, developing, maturing, learning. So, I set goals. One consistent goal is to read a book a week. If the book is a shorter one – under 200 pages – then I read two during that week. I read because I need to. There is an inner hunger to learn more, to grow, to develop. And, there is so much one can learn from others just by reading. I make time to read. Anyone can do that as well if they want to.
The current younger generation seems to not want to or like to read. I recommend books to the young men I disciple and mentor and they admit that they have not read a book in years. Some don’t try. Those that do quickly fall in love with reading and thus growing through reading. Those that don’t almost always stop the discipling / mentoring relationship. They just, at this stage in their life, don’t see the need to read. Maybe they are growing and maturing through what they watch on You Tube and listen to on their smart phone. Maybe not. But, there is such potential for growth and maturity if the individual will simply pick up a book, get alone, and immerse themselves in the discoveries of others.
Of course, I drag a paper copy of the book around with me. I am never without a book in my car. You never know when you might find 15 minutes to read while waiting for someone or something. And, I have graduated to ebooks as well. Partly because I have run out of shelf space and am almost out of floor space so cannot stack many more paper books. Partly because of convenience and it weighs less when travelling by plane. The new eReaders are waterproof which makes reading while camping and kayaking a pleasure.
So, we are all on a journey. Hopefully you believe that you never arrive but just keep learning and growing. And, books are my prime way to learn and to grow.