Life isn’t a journey, you’ve been taught wrong
To compare life to a journey, one must first understand what a journey is. How else would you compare two things to each other if you don’t fully understand either of them?
Obviously, we know that a journey involves the act of traveling from one place to another but we have absolutely no idea what life is about. So, those who say life is a journey are fooling themselves into believing that they have life figured out.
Nonetheless, for the sake of this article let’s entertain that school of thought and try to understand their analogy. There are four elements to every journey: A traveler, a place of origin, a destination, and the act of traveling from the origin to the destination. If any of these four elements is missing, the journey is incomplete and your definition of it would be inadequate.
Surely you can’t have a journey without someone journeying it because a journey is an act and it requires someone performing that act. You can’t say you are on a journey if you haven’t moved anywhere because a journey requires movement and it’s the essential constituent.
Even if you pack your bag today and start traveling without any destination in mind, that “unknown” you’re heading to wherever it may be is the destination and will reveal itself to you eventually when you get there. So, the most important element in a journey is the movement of the traveler from one location to another.
So how would an act of traveling from one place to another have any resemblance to a person’s life? By saying it’s a journey you mean that you ought to get somewhere by living your life and there’s a destination at the end of your life you are heading to.
During your lifetime you’ll get to have several journeys on earth, however, we’re not discussing these inferior journeys. The journey we’re discussing in this article is the ultimate journey — the journey that encompasses them all. It’s the sum of all collective movements you’ve made your entire life from the moment of birth to the moment you die. So, your ultimate journey’s point of origin is birth whereas death represents the destination and everything that happened in between represents your movement along this journey.
Life is movement and we stop moving when we’re dead. So when the thing that defines you as “You” started moving for the very first time, it marked the birth of you as well as the journey’s point of origin. Likewise, the moment when “You” stop moving marks your death and your journey’s final destination.
Just like a journey won’t be concluded until you have reached your final destination, comparing life to a journey means that you can only complete it when you die — because it’s only then that your final journey is concluded. The funny thing about death is that it’s sudden and you don’t know the exact moment you’ll die unless you’re committing suicide but under natural circumstances, no one will ever realize the completion of his journey. No one ever wakes up every morning and go through his life’s memories as if he’ll die today and there’s no tomorrow because that would be absurd and depressing.
Additionally, death involves pain in most cases which would ultimately prevent you from thinking of anything else in those last moments but the pain you’re in — which means you can’t leave it all to the moment of death thinking you’ll be able to recall your life’s memories in your last moments and come to the realization that you have finally reached that moment of your own death.
If the completion of the journey only happens at death, which is mostly instant, no one can really witness his final destination or the conclusion of his life. Similarly, no one really witnesses the beginning of his journey because that beginning is when you were born and no one can have a memory of that. I don’t know about you but I personally can only remember some instances of when I was 7 years of age but nothing before that. So this means that if life is a journey it’s one that you have no realization of it beginning or ending. What you get is a journey that you can only experience the movement you make along its path but never really knowing how you started or ended!
Someone else would be able to witness your beginning and end if they were there when you were born and when you passed away but you personally don’t get to experience that realization. Surely you can possibly see photos or videos that recorded your moment of birth and see it happening but that will never awake any memory in your mind of personally experiencing the birth of you. In any way, just because you have no memory of it happening or can’t realize it, this doesn’t mean that it didn’t actually happen in the physical world. Both your birth and death occur in the physical world and they mark the beginning and the end whether you’re able to realize any of them or not.
So by now, you might be thinking: Well, it’s obvious then! Life is indeed a journey because you started somewhere, moved for a long time, and then ultimately stopped moving at the end of your life — this constitutes a journey doesn’t it? Well, yes it does but there’s something else we haven’t talked about yet that would challenge that conclusion.
Yes, we indeed have covered all four elements of a journey but we have an additional element involved here and it’s the nature of the point of origin and destination of this journey — The birth and death. These are no normal places to begin with or end at because they involve two different and opposite states of being. To be alive is opposite to being dead and vice versa. It means there’s a transition happening here from being alive (the moment you started moving for the first time) to being dead (the moment you stopped moving forever) and this transition is in part a journey but also something more than a journey. There’s a new element involved here and it’s the process of change from one state or condition to another. Consequently, we can’t describe life as a journey anymore because now we know there’s something else involved.
The same way we differentiate traveling from journeying if the “length of the distance traveled” is relatively longer than your average traveling, it would also be lacking in meaning to resemble life to a journey because of the “change of state from being alive to being dead” that happened during that journey.
As a result, what we get is a transition, not a journey and that’s a more accurate description of life. It’s the transition from being alive and self-aware to being dead and unconscious — a transition from being flesh and bones to nothing more than ashes.
You have been fooled into believing that life is a journey with a destination you should look forward to because that destination is death or nothingness and it’s not something a reasonable person should be looking forward to at all.
When you resemble life to a journey you’re deceiving yourself and others into thinking there’s something you should be getting to, something pleasant waiting for you at the end, something like a reward of some sorts. The reality is there’s only death at the end and you should be focusing your attention elsewhere — on the present and living your life for today, not for tomorrow.
Life has been given to you and no one chooses to be born.
Let’s enjoy it and make the best of it today while we still can.