If you're prepared to hunt it, you've got to be prepared for what happens when you catch it.
According to my new Kindle which replaced my old Kindle that I recently left on a plane to New York to see my brother who reads much more than I do these days, I'm 19% of the way through Moby-Dick. I've always wanted to read this book and never have but am determined to do so. There is something mentally 4-D about being determined to accomplish a long unaccomplished goal which centers around a book about the same concept.
Not that reading Moby-Dick is THE "white whale" in my life. If I'm honest, I suffer from the same generational inability to keep that exact thing from being anything other than a moving target. In the past, its been "that job" or "that girl" or "some girl" or "this house" or "that family" or "that weight" or whatever--at any given time I would have felt in the most hidden parts of my little engine-that-could heart that all of these things were JUST the thing I needed. You know. To be happy. Every now and then though, you stumble upon catching one of these "white whales" and then...well there's something else.
For others, it's less a single particular objective and more of what Cuba Gooding, Jr. referred to in Jerry Maguire as "the Quan"--you know, love, respect, community, money...all of it. And while I'm not remotely close to this all-encompassing state of self-actualization, I find myself turning a particular corner related to my lifelong whale-hunting passion.
I'll get to the super sharp point of my harpoon quickly: All I've ever wanted are things, concepts, commitments and people--some more important than others. And if I miraculously got all of them at any point, I'd be happy for....well, probably a few minutes or maybe even days. And then? So is there anything good on TV? Anyone going to the bar? When is this team gonna finally win a title? Why can't my wife wear good underwear anymore? Why aren't my kids smarter? When will I have enough money to retire? I'm retired, but what is there to do? I'm retired, I don't want to DO stuff all of the time!
My curse is that I know ME way too well. If I invest all of my emotional capital in the dogged pursuit of what essentially boils down to "stuff", what will I have left over to give to any of it if I actually get it? You all know that person who says, "If I just moved to this city" or "If I just could find someone" or "If I just made this much money" or "If I just got this job". All of these people--at least the odds say--have a decent chance of actually capturing their white whale. But what then? What happens when we capture the damned whale and we realize we've got to do something with it or that there's a bigger whale out there?
So as time goes by, my thirst for the "hunt" is waning. This doesn't mean I have no goals or "want". I'd just prefer to enjoy today and think about happy hour. I mean, there are so many types of scotch I haven't even tried yet! Tomorrow, there's a good movie to take my mom to for her birthday. Sunday, I get to share dinner with my entire church family. Monday, maybe I'll go see the Thunder game. Each day has something cool to offer and lately, I've just plain forgotten about my "life checklist". I'm 31, unmarried, and don't own a house. By many conventional standards, I'm a complete failure. And yet lately, I haven't really thought about it too much except for a few fleeting moments. I promise you, my friends, that I'll work harder on feeling more ashamed. It's just that lately I've been too busy allowing life to somehow go on. I guess this makes me unambitious or something. But honestly, I think I'm just tired of being seasick.