Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The importance of the journey and the destination

A lot of time, as a peer, the discussion comes up of "what do you do to become a peer?"  "What steps do you take?" "Are there jobs or goals?" "How long does it take?"

While the answer to all of that is - yes, there are certain tasks and jobs you can take on that will get you the recognition or experience that peerages look for, there's a far more important question to ask.

Why are you worrying?

Goal is setting is *fabulous* and I absolutely commend you if becoming a peer is something you want to do someday and you have that as one of your things you'd like to happen.  It's good to keep goals like that in mind as you make choices and, particularly, because peerage is a reflection (we hope) of a better self we hope to be in service to the Dream.  If you want to someday be a peer, acting like one is a good step - being chivalrous, discreet, working hard, and all those other qualities we discuss.

But a better question is are you enjoying your journey?  You see very often people seem to be fixated on who is a peer, who is not, when they will be one, when SOMEONE will be one.  The answer to those becomes consuming. The desire that they someday be recognized is the end all and be all of their choices and their events and their conversations in between.  Again, this is going to occasionally come up as it's the nature of the peeragey beast. But if it comes up too often, I start to wonder about if that individual has forgotten the point of the SCA, the Dream, and the Journey.

Yup, a big 'ol capital J on that journey. 

We are all on our own journeys and our own paths. For some of us, we joined the society to learn an art or a craft or to fight. Some of us found joy in service. Most of us CERTAINLY stuck around for the friendship and camaraderie.  Pretty much no one walked in the door and said "gee I want to stick around to get an award."

But for some folks - maybe not even all the time - that question becomes the forefront of their journey. The art, the fighting, the friends get momentarily forgotten because a shiny object is dangling in the future. I think it's human nature to want that thing so I don't necessarily even want to villify this sentiment. We all feel it sometimes but it's important that it not become our driving goal - and it is important that the consideration of it not taint all of our interactions and conversations and perceptions of those around us.

What I do wish to caution on is that even if you someday want that thing, enjoy your journey. Enjoy the projects it takes to get there. The art scis that don't go right. The jobs you enjoy doing because they build your skills and your confidence or because they simply make someone smile. Enjoy the friendships the most.  Not everyone will become a peer and - not shockingly - not everyone wants to. It's a specific type of person who not only receives a peerage but *enjoys* it as well, enjoys the responsibility and the role therein, and enjoyed the steps it took to get there.  For some people, that joy is elsewhere and they'd be miserable in meetings just as some of us are miserable trying to sit down and do "nothing" and relax.  Again, everyone's journey and even the destination is different and that doesn't - and shouldn't - matter as long as we are all receiving joy from our hobby and finding joy and inspiration in the Dream.

Remember that other people are on their own journey as well. If you think they deserve an award, write one in. If you think they don't, bite your tongue - because someone somewhere will always feel that someone doesn't deserve something; regardless of whether you are right or wrong the decision is (most likely) out of your hands and that person is having a good moment. The sun will still rise and set in the morning. The world will turn. You are not diminished from the success of others. You are not a lesser person because someone's journey is different than yours.  Be happy for those around you and let that joy color everyone's steps.

Someone once asked me if I was upset that a friend became a peer before I did. It's possible my sobbing was misconstrued as "upset" when in reality I was so happy I couldn't contain it.  No. And every peer that was announced before or after me has never made me feel upset. Every award that went to someone that wasn't me has never bothered me. Because those people have their own Dreams they bring to the table and I can't carry the Dream alone.

Besides, I've still got a long road I'm enjoying skipping down.