Years ago an engineering schoolmate brought up the topic of life goals, my terse and quick response was, “owning a wall of music CDs and a high displacement motorcycle”. His reaction was actually terser and quicker – “that’s it?” – And wasn’t exactly devoid of that patronizing tone. But, what can I say, that was indeed my life goal. To cite Chris Nolan’s Joker –“You see, I’m a guy of simple taste. I enjoy, uh, dynamite, and gunpowder…and gasoline!” — In my case, it’s heavy metal and motorcycling.
Also, people usually fall into two categories, ones with specific objectives and agendas, and then there are those with more abstract motivations. Specific goals could be anything, but it will be absolute and measurable – like retirement by age of 45, or making 200 Million dollars, or filing 20 patents etc. Abstract goals are not specific and tend to be subjective — like pursuit of an interesting career or pursuit of knowledge etc.
Meticulously working towards some specific objective requires long term planning, it requires making calculated trade-offs. These specific goals are usually irreconcilable with abstract goals, especially in the long run. For instance, you cannot expect to be a millionaire, or retire by 45, if you are only going to do interesting jobs. Actually those driven by abstract pursuits might just find it meaningless to state specific goals.
Whether it’s discovering music or exploring the great outdoors on a motorcycle, both requires some spirited curiosity. Over the years both these pursuits have evolved, they have moved from specific goals to more abstract. Instead of exploring specific sub-genres, now it’s about discovering broad qualities, like rich layering, structural progression and dynamics of influences. Riding has also similarly moved, from destination driven to exploration driven.
These days it’s just about looking at a map to identify winding roads, most likely involving unexpected unpaved miles, or rustic routes cutting through state parks or bordering that coastal stretch. You will inevitably get a bit lost or run into restricted access roads, or get close to running out of fuel. You will also inevitably run into another solo motorcyclist, traversing the same path, but from the opposite direction. In short, it rarely goes according to the plan. But as the cliché goes – journey matters, but the destination, not so much.