Saturday, January 19, 2019

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Perspectives on the
Wonderment of Your Life
About This Series of Articles
Life in all its wonderment surrounds and resides in us every day. Perspectives on the Wonderment of Your Life will feature a series of essays that will provide reflections on the abundance and joy in our lives. ...Read More About Perspectives on the Wonderment of Your Life




Perspectives on the Wonderment of Your Life


Edward F. Gibbons, Jr.



Is That All There Is?


“Focus on the journey, not the destination.
Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
                                                            ~ Greg Anderson
As I reflect on the above quote by Greg Anderson, I am reminded of a song titled Is That All There Is? which was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and recorded by Peggy Lee in 1969.   The song reached number 11 on the U.S. pop singles chart, and it reflected on the disillusionment of a person with various events in life (Wikipedia, 2009).     Have you ever encountered an event, an occasion, that you were looking forward to, and when the event took place all you can say was “Is That All There Is?”160; 
I remember when I attained my Ph.D. and after all of the celebrations were over I said to myself “Is That All There Is?”  From the time I began my undergraduate studies in the fall of 1974 to when I received my Ph.D. in May, 1986 my focus was on the day when I would walk onto the dais at graduation and receive my doctoral hood from the university president.  Everything that I had worked hard for over those twelve years was focused on that particular moment and the related events of that day.  It was, indeed, a big event in my life but as the excitement of the day subsided I began to get the feeling “Is That All There Is?”  After twelve years of being a financially struggling undergraduate and graduate student, after twelve years of “pulling all nighters” studying for exams or writing term papers, after twelve years of being grilled by professors, of spending countless hours doing research, of repeatedly saying “I can’t” to my friends who wanted me to go out with them, after twelve years of making sacrifices so that I could receive my Ph.D. hood, it all came down to one question – “Is That All There Is?”
If all that we focus on is the event, then, yes, “that is all there is”.  However, it is not just about the event, it is about the journey that was taken to reach the event.  It is about all the lessons learned, the successes that occurred along the journey, the richness in emotional experiences, and all of the failures and disappointments that were encountered as we climbed our individual mountains.  I realized that all of the experiences, good and bad, that I encountered over those twelve years provided the answer to my puzzling question – “Is That All There Is”?  This perspective gave me pause and I was reminded of a phrase from the concluding paragraph of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859):
“There is grandeur in this view of life ...”, and, indeed, there was!!!!!  I realized that those were, indeed, twelve grand years!!  Those years were rich in personal and professional experiences.  They were rich in lessons learned, emotions, values affirmed, and a framework that will guide the rest of my life.  My question shifted from “Is That All There Is?” to “Do I Fully Understand How Much There Is?” 
Twenty-four years after my Ph.D. graduation I am still reflecting on “How Much There Is?”  How much value did those twelve special years add to my life?  I may never fully comprehend the ultimate value of those years, but one thing I do know – it is not about the goal, the end of the journey, the event.  It is about the process that was taken to reach the goal.  It is about the cognitive, emotional, and social richness that is in our moment-to-moment experiences as we strive to attain our life goals.  It is all about the “stones” and “crevices” we encounter as we climb our personal mountains.  Always remember to embrace the moment and to “Feel the emotion and live YOUR dreams”!!!    And, if you do this there will be “… grandeur in this view of life …”


Darwin, C. 1859.  On The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection.  (Reprint 1991).  Easton Press, Norwalk, Connecticut.
Wikipedia.  2009.  Is That All There Is?: wiki/ Is_That_All_There_Is%3F.
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