The longest journey starts with a single step.
A human life is a journey. You are going to spend the rest of your life in the future, which is an unmapped land.
You can spend today indulging your desire for control and gratification, trying to get something that will give you pleasure in the moment, even if that pleasure comes from pissing or moaning about the past and how screwed up the world is.
You can spend today creating something that will move you towards the future. Maybe that is honing a skill or creating something new, or learning something, or even just finding nourishment in doing work that brings value.
In other words, do you take another step or do you you just take pleasure in chasing your own tail?
All you can bring to the future is what you have ownership of today. Increasing your own ownership — owning it — is the way you end up playing the long game, is the way you end up making the most possible out of a human life.
A step is just a step. It seems small, almost insignificant in the context of a huge, challenging, scary, world.
Yet a step is all we can make in one moment. Our lives are built one tiny choice at a time, each decision shaping who we are and what we have to bring to our future.
When we don’t own our own steps, we don’t own our own power, our own life, our own responsibility to others and to our world. If we look for indulgence rather than searching for building blocks, we don’t just fail to own our own life, we demand that others do the work that we are responsible for owning.
I have often had to explain to transpeople that there is no “they,” as in “they should change the world in this way so that transpeople have more opportunity.” There is no staff, no cadre that is waiting for orders on how to make the world better for us.
In the end, they is us, and what will happen is what you make happen, what I make happen, what we join together to make happen. Just railing about what is wrong may be satisfying in the moment, but it does very little to actually create the change. You must be the change you desire.
A human life is the longest game we can play. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. That journey is almost completely done in small steps which shape the course of our lives and affect the choices of the people with whom we come into contact.
When you make a choice, it becomes part of the long game that you play. If that choice doesn’t consider the possibilities, instead only considers immediate gratification and control, then your choice is to surrender your power for change in return for indulging your own fears.
When you look at other people and consider where they are and where you are not, unless you consider the steps they took to get there, the disciplined steps they took away from the instant and towards the creation, you miss the point and the cost of their journeys. They played the long game to get where they are, and they only got there by making the many steps required to build a new future.
Being mindful of the long game and using that mindfulness to make disciplined choices helps us create a future that reflects us rather than just having to accept a future that is forced on us because we haven’t worked to get out and shape it. Moving beyond our comfort zone today will give us the tools to become transcendent tomorrow.
Accepting the organic nature of life is important. We can’t control every variable and have to make the best of what we are given. We do control our own choices, though, not the cards we are dealt but how we play them, and it is in owning the moment of those choices that we have power to own our own life.
Play and exploration is vital to creating a good life. We have no idea what is around the curves on the road ahead, so not only the willingness to be surprised, but even the delight in heading off in new and unanticipated directions is vital. I know of no one who could imagine in advance the most wonderful moments of their lives. Surprise and our willingness to embrace what we had not previously considered opens us up to the gifts of the universe beyond our limited imagining.
The longest journey starts with a single step. If you are not working to integrate your life, you are working to disintegrate it. If you are not playing the long game you are just short sighted.
You are going to spend the rest of your life in the future. Shouldn’t you do what you can to be ready for that eventuality in the steps you take today?