I hope your road is a long one
I recently reconnected with a friend. As the conversation moved from travel to life’s milestones, and then business, we eventually landed on how you always seem to be (re)learning the same lessons throughout your life.
“Why does it feel like the Universe is trying to teach me the same thing over and over again?” I asked him. “I know my weaknesses, I know the solutions, but the same lesson keeps popping up, just in different ways.”
For me, the lesson can always be boiled down to self-care in some way. It’s like I am hardwired to save everyone but myself. Is it because I need to be liked? Is it because I don’t like myself?
All these teachable moments, whether they appear in my life as procrastination, unrealistic optimism, or even forfeiting pay in my own company for my team, or ‘the greater vision’ just reeks of a worthiness complex. I mean, does anyone really want to follow the person who chooses themselves last into battle?
While I know I will wear my badge of LESSON LEARNED proudly one day, my friend left me with some definite food for thought: I hope your road is a long one.
BY C. P. CAVAFY
TRANSLATED BY EDMUND KEELEY
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
Like all mastery (which happens to be this month’s member topic), it just takes time. What we desire, like being an overnight success, often takes decades and detours. Our job then isn’t to hurdle ourselves towards the destination, but instead to fall in love with the journey.
What are you trying to master in your life or business that feels like it’s taking forever? What lessons are you asked to learn again and again? Let us know in the comments below.