Having an obsession and fulfilling that obsession are two very different things. I’ve been getting ready to go on vacation, which generally sends me into an OCD quest of trying to tie up every possible loose end between 10 p.m. and midnight the night before I leave.
Given the lack of tied-up-ness in my daily life and the late hour at which I start, I usually stay up until I am forced to give up. At this point, I feel a surprising amount of peace.
A friend said in the comments last week that when she’s focused on the future, she gets frustrated that she’s not there yet. I only feel that way approximately 99.8% of the time. I think that’s what’s nice about getting ready to leave: it’s a defined, immutable “there.” The plane will leave at 6:27 a.m. whether you’ve watered the plants or not.
It’s interesting that it’s not so much the getting everything done before leaving as the simple existence of a cut-off point that brings that peaceful feeling. I perceive the “there yet” that I torture myself with as having to do with lack of accomplishment, whether tangible or interior, but this experience suggests otherwise.
It suggests that the ever-changing nature of the finish line causes more anxiety than what’s happening in the actual race. If every moment could be its own finish line, I wouldn’t have to worry about this whole journey thing.