“I gave him/her the best years of my life!”, we often have heard this statement or something similar to it when a long term relationship ends. Often times one or both people in a breakup will look back and say, “Look at all the time I wasted with him/her” or “Look at how much love I wasted on that person”. People in a break-up are inclined to say things like this because they are hurt, they have reached an end to something they believed would last forever and they are hurt because this is not what they envisioned the end of this stage of their journey to look or feel like. When we are in this state of reaching an end point in one of our journeys, in this case a relationship, we are apt to look back and discount the entire journey as wasted time because it did not turn our the way we had envisioned, that is, the prize at the end of the journey was not what we expected.

blue wooden gate with a red heart painted on it

What we often fail to see as we look in the rearview mirror with bitterness is that we did have joy, love and learned lessons along our journey together, that no time was wasted, that we are who we are today because of our journey.

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Yes, the journey did not end as we had planned, it didn’t last till death do us part, it didn’t last until we were sitting in our respective rocking chairs watching the sun set on our respective life’s together, however it doesn’t mean that our time or love was wasted.

I am reminded of the Griswold’s family vacation from National Lampoons Family Vacation. In this classic movie, the Griswold’s embark on their annual vacation, destination Wally World, an amusement park where families have fun together. The trip to Wally World takes a few days and along the trip the Griswold family has a number of mishaps as well as some fun times and close moments with each other. The kicker is that the trip to Wally World becomes quite the journey and adventure and when they arrive at the gates of the famed Wally World, they discover that it has been closed for renovations.  The movie, their journey, was never about Wally World, it was about all of the lessons they learned along the journey. They same is true in the journeys of our life, we may have our sights set on a goal and we work towards achieving that goal to only discover in the end that something has changed and what we perceived as  the end goal is not what it turns out to be. Do we simply discount all the things that we learned and experienced on our way to achieving that goal, No! Hell no! We do just the opposite, we take stock of our journey and all that has gone before and we forge ahead wiser then before with a knowing in our heart that neither time nor love was ever wasted or lost.

Embrace and love your journey, even when that journey does not lead you to what you thought it would. There are reasons for everything, for every curve in the road, for every climb up the hill and for every moment spent in the deep dark valleys of life.

Remember when there are two or more people involved, the only one you can control is yourself and therefore you never know what the last word on the last page will be. Even if there was a way for you to know, would you really want to know? What fun would that be! Create your world, however remember you cannot be the creator of someone else’s world, for they must do that for themselves.

Remember in our journey, the greatest prize does not await us at the end, the greatest prize is and always will be the journey itself!