I’m a 44-year-old adult who doesn’t know how to swim. Naturally, I’ve never had a desire to surf.
But that didn’t stop me from watching Under An Arctic Sky, a documentary about arctic surfing that’s directed by photographer Chris Burkard. It was, generally speaking, an interesting documentary. And I’ll grant you I was somewhat surprised by my curiosity toward this film, at the outset. However, it was the last 10 minutes or so that produced the real gem for me: the notion of the journey as being more important than the product of the journey.
That concept gave me a good reason to reflect because, as someone who is creative on a professional level, I find it too easy to focus on the outcome…that final product, an anticipated portfolio piece, a new “thing” to share. The problem with that perspective is simple: it neglects the journey.
In a journey, the substance isn’t found at the end: it lives in each of the moments experienced within. And those experiences—an engaging conversation, a magnificent view, or even the next phase of a passion project—are priceless, and often provide a sense of discovery or fulfillment along the way. Furthermore, they are always preceded by a choice: to either embrace the present or simply go through the motions while anticipating the future. That’s why we must enjoy the journey, as opposed to what it generates as an outcome. Those polished outcomes—travel photographs, social media posts, artwork, etc.—are simply monuments that, although beautiful in their own right, should always inspire us to keep searching for new moments. Just like the surfers from the documentary…always searching for a fresh experience. A continuing journey, if one values time.
Bruce Lee said it best with a statement that carries such brilliance within its simplicity…
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
© 2018 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.
I created a piece of artwork and an accompanying haiku that were inspired by this article. Click here to view them, along with notes on the materials used.