Quite a few years ago, there was a young boy who saw the world as a wonderous place. He read books, watched films and listened to tales of heroics and adventure. To him, there was only one direction in which to take his life - mimicking the men who had influenced him so...
This young boy embarked on a journey. He carried iconic images - tough guys who were unflinching in their duties - and started to reshape himself into a carbon copy of those men. He learned, trained and changed his views to fit the values and beliefs of the his heroes. In time he grew and, as he slipped from child to man, he continued on his determined path, his aspirations fixed in place, immovable.
If he didn't succeed, there was nothing more for him.
Time passed and that man started to look back over his life. There was no doubt he had been successful in most of his ventures, but he couldn't help but something was amiss. He spent time analysing his voyage and came to the conclusion he'd taken a wrong turn.
Now, that's not to say he regretted any aspect of his life so far, more that his aspirations had been based on the wrong information. You see, the things he did, his achievements, were all for the benefit of someone else. They had been a demonstration that, as our American cousins are fond of saying, he had 'the right stuff'.
Problem was nobody was there to listen. His trajectory in life had been chosen to impress others and, as it turned out, those 'others' weren't interested in the detail, only the end result. They cared about him, but cared little for the steps he followed and more about his ultimate success.
It was time to stand back and take stock of life. He'd learned many lessons that could be put to good use; validation of his willingness to endure extreme physical and mental hardship in order to reach a chosen goal.
And you might ask, 'What is the difference between then and now?'
No more aspiring to set routines and fixed destinations. Instead, a path was chosen. The endpoint was picked, but the specifics of how he arrived at the destination no longer mattered.
I know some of you might think the path and aspiring to a given goal are one and the same. I disagree.
You see, this man knows that some of his ideas and plans might now work out. Circumstance has a habit of intervening and bulldozing even the most carefully laid plan. And this is where the path becomes the most important aspect of the journey.
Because the path is littered with failure. Through failure we learn to adapt and overcome. We become more resilient, our minds more flexible and able to cope with life's lows. In essence, we reinvent ourselves as we find new ways to rewrite our aspirations into something more valuable and enduring - a path.
As for me, I've decided to put aside my aspirations of singular goals and instead to focus on finding a route that will reward me with the life I forgot to have; a world that, for a time at least, was hidden behind my aspirations.