The means to an end, or an end for the means?

“Hyvää uutta vuotta!!!”

Cheers filled the air as bursts of colours lit up the dark midnight. Standing in the middle of the senate square with 30 000 other people, we were busy turning our heads to follow the fireworks that were shooting up from the buildings surrounding us. After the spectacular display had ended, we hugged, toasted over a shared bottle of wine, and then got busy again trying to make our way out of the crowd along with the packs of people.

“That’s it?” I thought. It felt kind of weird, having looked forward to this turn of the year which will signify the conclusion of a very special year for me and the beginning of a second chance, and in the blink of an eye, the moment is over. The joyous atmosphere has amazingly taken an immediate dip, and it suddenly seemed to be just like any other day, or night.

I thought about the days of intense reflection and perturbations leading up to this day, and it occurred to me that those carried so much more significance, and was in itself an experience that I now look back on with gratitude for having gone through. Like many others, this personal audit was fuelled by the realisation of an impending destination – the end of the year. Imagine, if there never were year-ends, and time stretches itself on endlessly with no milestones, would we have looked at it in the same way?

This experience of reaching a much-awaited destination and finding that the moment is brief and passing, and even disappointing to those who had glorified it in their minds, is just like every other pursuit that fills our days. If you consider how we spend most of our time engaged in the journey of becoming/ achieving/ arriving, and the actual moments when we reach our destinations and achieve our goals are but fleeting, you will realize that Life is in the journey.

This perspective somehow shed an ironically different light on the phrase “means to an end”. Between the relationship of a destination and its journey, which is the means, and which is the end? We kept moving along the journey so as to arrive at our destination, and then find that the gold actually lies in the yellow brick road. However, without that destination, we would never have begun the journey in the first place. Which is the purpose of which?

So, how is your yellow brick road? Are you paying any attention to it?



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