Tuesday, March 13, 2012

He Who Do Foreplay…

We’ve all heard the expression, “It’s the journey, not the destination that counts.” I think it was Emerson and maybe Aerosmith who first said it.

I’m here to take issue with that piece of wisdom. I’m here to stick up for the red-haired, ugly step-sister called “Destination” because she does count. In fact, she counts just as much as that hussy, “Journey.”

Let me explain. My 10 year old daughter spent the past six months preparing for a piano competition that was to occur last Saturday. Six months is like six years in 10 year old time. On Friday she came home from school sick. By Saturday she had a raging fever of 103.5. There was no way in hell she could perform – she could barely stand up. She has not had a sick day all year, and it killed me that it just happened to fall on the day of this event. All of her hard work, down the toilet.

As she lay on the couch in the throes of chills so bad they made her teeth chatter, she told me, “All of that practicing, all of that time, it was just wasted.” Hearing this made me cringe. On some level I knew it wasn’t wasted time, but on another level, I knew what it meant to have something by which to measure hard work. I understood the need to take all of that time, effort and energy and to apply it to an end result.

You see Emma is not one of these kids who is involved in every activity from finger painting to monkey bar competitions. At this point in her life, the only stuff she does out side of school is play the piano. Piano is to her what running is to me. It fills her up. It gives her something to work for. It is a way for her to measure her growth. It makes her a better person. She had put everything into this day.

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I had to come up with a response to her and I had to do it quick. Because moms just want to make things better and because I like to relate all things back to me, I told her my own sob story.

“Emma, do you remember over a year ago when I spent all that time training for the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon? No? Well,  exactly 8 days before the race, I got hurt. Not the kind of hurt where you sit on an ice pack and take a couple of days off, but the kind of hurt where you are out of the game for weeks, where you are on crutches. I had to drop out of the race. It killed me.”

“I remember at first thinking that all of my training was a waste.  All of those miles, for what? But, then I realized that even though I couldn’t race, my efforts had still made me tougher. I had still spent time doing something I loved and getting stronger and better at it. You see, it’s not always about the end result. It’s about what you learn along the way. You are disappointed and that is okay. But, you realize there will be other races, other piano events. You make peace with it.”

I looked over at her – was she buying it?  She looked slightly relieved. Phew.

I knew this story somehow made her feel better, which was my goal. But, in my mind I felt kind of like a liar. Why? Because I actually do believe that it is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. Yes, the journey is invaluable – it is infinitely important. Without the journey, we learn nothing, we don’t grow. But, without the ability to apply all of our efforts to that one end climax, we never get to measure what the journey has done for us. We never get to put the exclamation mark on the end of the sentence and say, “Hey I did that!”

I mean, really, would you go through all that foreplay if you didn’t think you were going to have the orgasm? That is the age-old question that the ancients ask themselves everyday. I think there is a Lao Tzu quote about it. “He who do foreplay, have orgasm!”

Let’s get real. In all of this talk about the damn journey and what we learn from it, let’s not pretend that the destination does not matter too. Because it does and it should. It matters that your hard work is recognized. It matters that you train for four months and get to cross the finish line. It matters that you throw up and eat pickles with peanut butter and nine months later have a baby. Can’t we learn along the way, but still have the destination be available to us? Why does it have to be one or the other?

It’s not like I’m going to go out and get a bumper sticker that says, “F*ck the journey, it’s all about the destination,” (I’d get beat up in Boulder if I did that), but I think you know what I mean. Having the accomplishment as a notch on your belt counts too, so give Destination the credit she deserves.

Update: Emma’s piano teacher just called – so many kids were sick they are going to allow them to play their pieces and do their sight reading and theory tests for the judge on Friday. So she gets a rain date after all!

SUAR

49 comments:

  1. Great post!!!

    Don't you hate it when you feel like you're lying to your kiddo(s)? I *just* posted about this yesterday.

    Hope the next piano recital is right around the corner for your daughter...

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  2. Oh Sadness for your sweet girl. I think a HUGE part of it is the destination. All that hard work. What a sweet girl. You are a good mom to feel that pain with her and for her.

    On a side note, love the Boulder comment. haha.
    As runners, I bet most of us have missed a big race. The letdown is so disheartening.
    I hope she feels better.

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  3. Poor Emma! That really is a tough one at any age, but especially for a kid.

    Now--I'm going to say, I am a big believer in the journey, and will apply this specifically to running. One of the things I've noticed about the running world in the past several years is huge number of people signing up for marathons way before they've really learned to love the sport. They get through the training, all for that one day. But do they love the getting there? No--it's a means to an end. I think that's a shame. I've had races yanked out from under me due to injury, and it sucked. But it was the journey of running that I missed the most, not the actual event. Just my contrary 2 cents!

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    1. Yes, good point. I DO think the journey has to be important, that it has to have meaning for the participant. But, I also think it's okay to put emphasis and importance on the destination, be it a marathon or the grade you get on a test.

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  4. It's the destination you constantly flash through your head to get you through those grueling journeys right? So ya, agreed
    Unless it's foreplay, and in that case,.. it's ALL fun :)

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  5. Thanks for always saying exactly what is in my head in a way that makes sense. Hells yeah its about that big brass belt buckle! and bragging rights, and finish lines.

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  6. This is so true! I don't think I could have been as eloquent as you, but I definitely agree. It's a balancing act... I try to enjoy the journey but I wouldn't be on the journey without the destination "luring" me to continue.

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  7. I have races medals on my wall, not running logs. Not that I don't have an immense amount of respect for the journey, but I'm not a natural runner. I do it because I'm a type one diabetic who'd like to meet her grandbabies some day. If I don't have a race on the calendar, I'm a major slacker. Not everyone one screams for the "Salad Man Truck". Except maybe in Boulder (CU alum here - Go Buffs!).

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    1. Had to laugh - I have race medals AND my running log on my wall - my log is posted to an ornately framed corkboard (very girly!) and every day I record my miles and total up each week...it is a simple excel spreadsheet that displays roughly 20 weeks of training. I'm super proud of all of those miles :)

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  8. My mind is blown by the foreplay comparison. Love it! And I'm a big believer of MULTIPLE destinations/orgasms!

    The destination holds you accountable to continue the journey... there'd be no destination if there weren't lots of time spent on the journey. Likewise, there'd be no orgasm if there weren't ample time spent on the foreplay!

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  9. First, I am so sorry for Emma. :(

    Great post. It seems to be one of those "sayings" that we all tell ourselves (and others) in order to feel better when something ultimately gets in the way of the destination... we try to trick ourselves into being okay with not ultimately making it to the "finish", whatever that may be. But yeah... you're right, the destination DOES freaking count! It substantiates our efforts in a way that nothing else can, no matter how much we get out of the journey.

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  10. Jeeze, how about inviting a pile of people over and have your own recital!

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    1. Actually the teacher just called and they are going to let the kids who missed play all of the pieces on Friday for the judge.

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  11. Emma is 10. There will be a next recital, a month, or 6 months away. Her recent practice will apply to that next recital. Which is a down payment on the 10,000 hours you need to do something to be good at it. In the mean time she is doing something she loves doing, which is a pretty amazing thing for a 10 year old to know. The other lesson her is that when you do get to that big recital, or whatever the event is, you have to grab it with both hands and wring everything out of it you can. Because you might be sick next time.

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  12. I was just thinking the same thing as Paul...Call your own recital ;) Everyone will be so happy...maybe foreplay will come later?? hmmm

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  13. Oh boy I sure did need to read this today. I am feeling so bad that i'm not "happy" about my recent injury. Thanks for a great post.

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    1. Totally okay to be unhappy about an injury!! Hang in there. It is temporary (until the next one, but we won't talk about that).

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  14. Isn't that whole journey/destination saying gearing us up for that Big Destination? You know the one... And I don't mean Cabo.

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  15. Wonderful post! I agree that it should be that we all enjoy the journey as we prepare for the destination. Because if it were not for that awaited destination we wouldn't have started the journey to being with!

    So glad the Emma get a rain date!

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  16. I trained hard for 6 months for an Ironman. Two weeks before the race I hit a deer on the downhill with my bike at 40mph. I got busted up pretty good and could not do the race. Someone swiped a finisher shirt from the race and gave it to me. It still lies in my trunk where I threw it. Nice that they thought of me but I didn't finish. Everyone says, yea but you did the work! Bullsh*t! I didn't finish! The foreplay is nothing without the orgasm!

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  17. I just bought a mug last week that says, "NAMASTE, motherf*cker". It is only a matter of time before I forget and bring it to Boulder, where I will be lynched.

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    1. Okay, that is one of the funniest things I have heard. Must have that mug. You could get away with that in Longmont, but not Boulder.

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    2. I will have to look for that one. My yoga teacher will pee herself and steal it from me if I don't give it to her. Which I would.

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    3. OK, guys, here's the link (warning, Zazzle says it's rated "R"): http://www.zazzle.com/namaste_motherfuckers_mug-168707539841354189

      It goes to a blogger trying to save up for BlogHer, so you know it's a good cause.

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  18. You're such an awesome mother!!
    Hope Emma has a fantastic recital on Friday!!!!!

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  19. So glad Emma gets to play after all:) The journey for me definitely makes me stronger physically and mentally, but it sure is nice to cross the finish line. A shiny medal doesn't hurt either!

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  20. Isn't that Emerson guy in Aerosmith?They were looking OLD on 60 minutes.....

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  21. My two cents: Life IS about the destination, but make sure to enjoy the journey. Does Emma enjoy playing when there's no recital on the front burner? Because if it's ALL about the destination (like someone else mentioned pertaining to running - if it's ALL about the marathon) you're missing out on some serious pleasure (foreplay is VERY pleasurable if you're doing it right...). (PS Please don't tell Emma you're comparing piano playing to foreplay. I can remember my young years of playing and just the word "pianist" was enough to dissolve us into giggles of embarrassment!)

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  22. Great post - I completely agree. I'm so glad she gets a "rain date" - that's awesome!!

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  23. "Make the journey the destination and the destination a journey!" Ha, I am Capt Conundrum and being Asian I have a way with fortune cookie words... Great read and agreed.

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  24. Oh I could totally identify with this post. You see, I read your blog because I run. But, my day job is professional pianist. To the people who ask if Emma enjoys practicing? pfft... nobody truly enjoys practicing. It's work! But, it has a fantastic pay-off. I'm so glad she gets to be adjudicated. Best wishes to her!

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  25. Your point of view is so true. We have to take it all in perspective for it to be effective for us to learn from. Otherwise it is pointless.

    You are such a good Mom. I hope you farted after the lesson to break the tension that was sure to have been built up.

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  26. I'm with you - it's about both. You often learn more (about yourself, life, etc.) on the journey, but the destination can be just as rewarding. As for running, when I look back on marathons I take more satisfaction from the random Sunday when I dragged my carcass out of bed at 4AM to go do 16 random miles in freezing rain than I do from any of the races, but I think both are important and satisfying.

    For what it's worth ... very nice piece of parenting. Sadly, no poop or fart references in the story you chose to share with your daughter, but good parenting nonetheless.

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  27. I'd sport your bumper sticker! There is a forum on mtbr.com (mountain bike review) titled "Bumper stickers seen in Boulder." It would be nice to add yours.
    I am so glad that Emma gets a redo. I used to do lots of piano competitions as young lad myself and I can appreciate her disappointment.

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  28. I'd love a bumper sticker like that...esp now, with a rolled ankle and not sure if I can run my 1st 10k race...the one I'd been training for 3 mths on St. Patrick's Day. Sux to be me.

    I'm glad Emma had a happy ending (of sorts) to her story. Makes me happy.

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  29. So true! One of my favorite quotes just happens to be "Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination." -Father Alfred D'Souza. But I also agree with SUAR, there has to be a "destination," and it does count... without the destination, there would be no journey, the journey is just usually takes longer, so we might as well enjoy the ride. Thanks for the reminder!

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  30. I am all about the journey..... The destination is icing on the cake.

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  31. In my next life I want to be that cool person that can sit down at a piano, play anything fabulous and wow everyone around me. That is how much I envy those that play this beautiful instrument. Given emma's passion, her journey is already taking her there. But I am so glad she still gets the rain check to meet her goal.

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  32. So happy Emma gets to experience the success of all her hard work after all. :)

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  33. It's one of those tough life lessons that we all have to learn - accepting disappointment. You handled it really well. It's hard to come up with the right thing to say so quickly. And it's great that Emma gets to have her moment.

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  34. I admit I love the journey being 99% of the fun but that 1% of excitement of getting to your destination can help to generate the 99% of fun. Glad to hear Emma gets a second chance after all. Ironic it was due to so many other kids being sick hehe.

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  35. I so happy for Emma getting a rain date....what a great mom to get her through a tough time.

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  36. I so love your blog. NO BS and to the point. YAY for Emma but I hear you. The destination does count, otherwise, why HAVE ONE? Two bouts of foot tendonitis knocked me right out of my A race two years in a row. UGH. I was PISSED! I started over but it's a disaster in terms of mental preparation and energy. Thanks for posting.

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  37. Loved your post!! It's so true.

    -stacy

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  38. Loved your post!! It's so true.

    -stacy

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