Sometimes I forget: where are we going?


by Kenneth Justice

~So often in life we lose our way.

When I worked as a counselor at the county jail I often found myself meeting with people who had lost their way in life.

Sometimes we start out with great intentions. We are full of energy; we leave high school and college ready to take on the world and make the most of our lives; but then our life takes a sudden twist and we find ourselves in places we had never expected.

This isn’t to say that the we always end up in bad places; sometimes those twists in the road lead us to wonderful places we never could of foreseen.

I’ve known many people who found love in places they weren’t even looking.

An older friend of mine told me that it wasn’t until his wife cheated on him that he realized how much he truly loved her. They had been married for many years and the relationship between he and his wife was definitely lacking in many areas.l When the affair occurred it was like a major jolt to his system and theirs is one of the marriage success stories; they recovered from their past relationship problems and recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. They are very much in love with each other.

–) As much as we plan

–) As much as we chart our course

–) As much as we want to set in stone our life goals

Sometimes we have to be ready for unexpected twists and turns

For the past week my children had been planning on going to the Drive-In Movie theater.

We had chosen a day and time and when the night of when we were supposed to go came; there was a huge thunderstorm! And then on top of the thunderstorm the car we were going to use had to go into the auto-repair shop!

–> Learning to roll with the thunderstorms of life is an important lesson; sometimes our best laid plans get derailed.

Although I enjoy doing things last minute, like getting a phone call from a friend, “Hey what are you doing? Do you wanna grab a coffee with me?”

I also enjoy planning things

I enjoy making goals

I enjoy sticking to plans

I enjoy the predictability of doing what we said we were going to do

But sometimes a thunderstorm comes.

And when those thunderstorms come we need to be flexible or to borrow the colloquialism “when life gives you lemons you make lemon-aid”

I’ve met with a lot of different people lately who are having a difficult time adjusting to the twists and turns of life.

Their lives didn’t turn out to be the way they expected them to turn out and when that happens it can lead to disappointment, sadness, and even depression.

When you think about it; the people in Egypt right now are a good example of people who are having to deal with some major twists and turns; they kicked out one leader a year ago and elected a new leader……..but last week they kicked out the new guy!

The people in Egypt want to see their lives improve; better jobs, easier access to food, etc.

Most of the time that is what we want out of life; a better job and good food

But one thing I’ve noticed about Americans is that we tend to want…..more than we really need.

When you get down to brass tacks; a lot of us are spending more than we should. A lot of us are buying things we don’t need.

Perhaps the twist our lives took unexpectedly; is that we woke up one day to find that we wasted a lot of money without even realizing it!

Learning to be thankful and satisfied with what we have is something that many of us have forgotten how to do.

Our necks hurt because we’ve been looking over our neighbor’s fence to much coveting the brand new Porsche sitting in their driveway.

I guess like many things; it is about balance. Finding that happy middle ground where we are happy with what we have and want to get a little bit more…..but not to the point of selling our soul to the company store.

Or perhaps its about going backwards to where we started out.

Remember how happy we were when we were younger? When all it took to make us happy was to spend the weekend hanging out with our friends?

What happened?

Why must we now have more expensive houses, more expensive cars, boats, clothes, etc. in order to find happiness?

Why can’t we just spend the weekend drinking coffee with our friends the way we used to?

More questions……fewer answers.

I think I will have another cup of coffee myself,


Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. I like the thunderstorms metaphor. Sometimes , however, I have felt that the hurricanes have been far too frequent and devastating. Your post has been a good “life on life’s terms” reminder.

  2. It can indeed be difficult if our plans get changed. We often like to have control over our lives, exactly plotting out what we will be doing next. But on the other hand, it can be a (huge) eye-opener when that thunderstorm comes on your path, even though it messes up your plans completely. Might even help you go in the ‘right’ direction 😉

  3. What was Plan B when the kids couldn’t see the Drive In? That is often the most interesting part of learning to live life in the moment. Did they sulk? Did you come up with something fun to do together?
    I have achieved lots of goals and now my life is less goal oriented. I am OK with having what I need. Lots of unexpected life changes left me lucky to be alive. Yet there is an nagging feeling that if only I could meet the right person for me. I concentrate on being the right person for me, which makes me appreciate how complicated that is. Not what society says I should be.

    • Camille,

      spot on: there was a Plan B because to put it quite simply if there wasn’t they would have been pretty mopey! Sounds like you know how it is when it comes to kids getting disappointed when plans get changed.

  4. OOh its amazing hw you have perfected the art of adapting to new unexpected situations..This post is inspiring

  5. Having my first cup now. Thanks for a thought-provoking read.

  6. I got me a Grande Starbucks this morning (extra shot, went to bed late last night)

    I am never surprised when things don’t go the way I planned. It never really does sometimes. Life is just…messy. Like, my 20 year old version of me would NEVER have have thought that the 36 year old version of me would be divorced, a single mom, dealing with one pre-dementia parent and one severely depressed parent on top of trying to keep afloat financially, with no husband or romantic relationship in sight….and very lonely.

    Just messy.

    • Claudiabette,

      I’m one of those crazy people that believe there is always the hope that tomorrow can be better, I hope that even in the midst of life you are able to find things that bring you joy 🙂

  7. americans seem to be wholly competitive… have to keep up with the jones’ if you will. that’s at least part of why we need the next greatest piece of technology. again there’s that deal with balance – plan but have contingency plans for just in case. plan but don’t get so married to that plan you can’t be flexible. all important things to remember. i always enjoy your perspective but this and the last post are particularly awesome… just saying. 🙂

  8. Why can’t we just be happy like before or with what we have? Isn’t it cause humans are all about progression? We’ve never stopped trying to improve since the invention of the wheel. Being content with where you are gives you no motivation to improve. It is just not human to be happy for very long doing the same things. We are monkeys that think too highly of ourselves sometimes.

  9. As the great and humble Robert Burns put it, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
    Gang aft agley.” The unhappiest people I know are also the ones who are least flexible (as far as job happiness goes).

  10. always love your insight…so refreshing in an era of triviality and meaningless endeavor. we need to gather as a planet, plan it, and go for the moon, from the HEART 🙂

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