Children grow up and they eventually stop asking, “Are we there yet?” They plug themselves into their smartphones and video games, chat with their friends, close doors to their rooms, and generally tune out. Just like us.
Even on long drives like the one from Sydney to the Snowy Mountains here in Australia, the challenge that are six hours with two kids in the back cannot be completely pre-empted with any amount of preparation. Kids get bored. Period.
Adults get bored too. Bored and tired. Yet we rarely question ourselves. We have bills to pay and worries to worry. We have reasons for the way we’ve taken. Okay, sometimes they’re more like blame than reasons.
Nevertheless, when my 6-year-old said in frustration, “Are we here yet?!!” I tuned in. My mind got back into the car, leaving outside in the freezing cold my thoughts about what could go wrong next week, or what I could have done better yesterday.
I tried to correct him, “You mean, are we there yet?”
“No, are we here,” he pouted his lips. “Are we here?”
“Two more hours.”
“Is that long?”
“One, two. Are we here now?”
And that conversation carried on for some time until eventually a DVD came to our aid. But I kept musing about a thought that fell into my head as subtly as rain had turned into snowflakes and covered all the roads in white that day on our way to the Australian Alps.
“Are we here yet?”
Are we where we want to be? Or are we in the constant state of arrival? Did we depart on time? Are we heading in the right direction? Fast enough? Can we get there faster? Can we be more comfortable while getting there? Are we ever there? Or do we keep going until we perish, still looking for the bigger, better, more peaceful, more perfect, more timely and more right?
Surely, we are here. Where else could we be? We’re sitting in our chairs, our homes, our offices, our towns, our countries, we’re driving our cars, and we’re in our bodies. If not all the time, then at least some of the time we must be here. We may always be chasing for something, however there are moments when we feel the clock ticking stops. When we feel the heartbeat of a moment when we’re truly happy where we are. It’s when inspiration comes and new ideas visit. When we accept the here, we can clearly see the where. When we take responsibility for where we are now, the roads ahead open up. A snow plough rushes past and makes it clear what lies beneath.
Sometimes getting stopped in our tracks is the way to make headway. If the road gets slippery and covered with snow, maybe it’s time to put the snow chains on the wheels. Or perhaps it’s best to turn back. To be here is to be as we are. Sometimes a child’s incorrect grammar wakes us up, and sometimes it’s something far more unpleasant. We may lose a job, leave a partner, be fined by a court, or simply feel unhappy. Instead of denying where we are, let’s embrace it. And once we own it, we can do something about it. It’s like taking a long sleep and waking up fresh in the morning. It’s like remembering the good, instead of trying to forget the bad.
Are we here yet? Yes. I believe no matter how far we’ve come, whether we like it or not, we’re here. There is here, and then is now. But only here can get us there. So be here now.