My husband, being the inventive parent that he is, long ago devised our family’s stock answer to the perennial summer car-trip question, “Are we there yet?” The answer always is, “We’re almost halfway.”
It’s been fascinating to watch our girls go through stages of understanding as he continued to dole out that answer over countless family adventures. Innocent acceptance, dawning curiosity, frustrated annoyance, chagrinned amusement and eventually collusion at the non-answer: call it the five stages of long-distance travel.
It’s valuable to consider what happened when the kids were only able to think about the “there” of the trip. In those times, “there” represented something better than “here.” When they were really convinced of this, everything here was annoying, boring, or otherwise inferior. Some future image in their minds was more compelling than the reality of the back seat. Strangely, as soon as something here would catch their attention, the boredom vanished. And, just to round out the picture, they found there was virtually equal amounts to be fascinated and bored with when we arrived “there.”
What is it like when your view is overtaken by a kind of tunnel vision to that unknown location called The Future? What do you notice about a trip, or project, or even a day, when the sense of “almost halfway” overwhelms any access to what’s happening right in front of your face? With your primary focus on a destination in either time or space, is your capacity for experiencing the part of the trip called “getting there” compromised in some way? If so, specifically how?