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The Highway of Discontentment

Updated on August 31, 2011

The Highway of Discontentment Leads to Self Discovery

source: fotosearch
source: fotosearch

Twenty Years Of Detour To Acceptance

Over the last two years, I have been reflecting on my life and what I would like to achieve going forward. You could say that I have arrived at middle age and is trying to determine what my legacy or contribution to the world will be. I feel like I have a lot to offer and about a half of a lifetime to do so. While it is not productive to wallow in regrets, it is useful to reflect on your past to effectively chart the way forward. I am therefore taking stock of some of the mistakes, failures, successes, and gains that I have made over the first forty five years of my life. I am optimistic that the next forty five years will be more productive and successful.

I have been reflecting on my aspirations in a more conscious way over the last two years,. However, this is not new to me as I have always reviewed the progress of my life from as early as grade school. I have always thought about what I wanted to achieve within five or ten years. I have been keeping journals since I was a teenager. I do not journal on a daily basis, but whenever I feel the inspiration to write something down. I find that writing in my journal helps to clarify my perspectives on whatever the present circumstances were. Whenever I was going through highly charged emotional times I would write in my journal. On reviewing the entries over the last twenty years, I have observed some angry entries; some happy entries, such as the birth of my children; some sad entries, such as the death of my grandparents and entries about disappointments and lack of recognition or major achievements. About ten years ago, I wrote down a personal mission statement, and I still live by those values. I have also written down my dreams/goals or 'bucket list' as some people call it. This bucket list consists of fifty things that I would like to do before I pass on. I also have a top ten list of things that I would like to achieve within the next ten years. On observation of my top ten list after ten years, I have achieved about eighty percent of my goals, yet I feel this sense of underachievement. I was surprised that I had been on course, even though I did not feel that way.

What does being on course mean to me? Well, it means achieving the goals that I have set for myself using my chronological age as a marker. For instance, when I was seventeen, one of my goals was to be a teacher by the age of twenty. Even though I achieved that goal by the target timeline, I did not celebrate my achievement. It is weird how one can forget to acknowledge their accomplishments, but remembers the setbacks. For instance, it has often bothered me that I did not make it to senior management by thirty years old which was one of my goals fifteen years ago.

So this brings me to the evaluation of my past twenty years. I arrived in Toronto, Canada from a small town in Jamaica and immediately faced culture shock as I adjusted to life in the big city. I immediately noticed that people were not as cordial as I was accustomed to. It appeared that no one acknowledge each other. They were too busy going about their business to notice the other person or to exchange greetings. It took me some time to understand life in a metropolitan city.

I migrated to Canada as an international student to study Public Policy and Administration at one of the universities in Toronto. I had aspirations of returning to the Caribbean where I would make my contribution to the educational system. I was going to return as an Education Administrator; to develop policies for teachers and students. Needless to say I detoured from that path. While I have many positive experiences in North America and have gained tremendous life experiences living abroad, I still have the uneasy feeling that I made a detour. Here is the analogy of how I summed up my last twenty years.

As I drove away from the Pearson International Airport, I headed west; I had missed the eastbound ramp to the 401, and inadvertently headed the wrong way. I was not alone as I had my three buddies, Intuition, Self Worth and Spirituality with me. We headed west on the Highway of Discontentment when we meant to go east to the city of Authentic Me. As we started on our journey, my companions were very engaging as we drove along observing all the new and exciting things, people and events along the way; things that we have never seen or experienced before. Intuition was the most excited. He was protesting vehemently that we were headed in the wrong direction. I was taking no notice of his tantrum. We met people who were friendly, confident, insecure, hateful, considerate, helpful, jealous, kind, caring, generous, prejudice, pretentious, mean, greedy, ambitious, competitive and uncaring along the way. Some taught me to trust, others to distrust.

Even though Intuition tried to warn me of some pitfalls ahead, I completely ignored him and forged ahead. I told him to be quiet and that I was in charge. He was very persistent that I was going the wrong way, but I refused to listen to his advice. I got so frustrated with him that I cut off almost all communicate with him. Every time he tried to speak, I would stop him and told him to be quiet. He stopped communicating with me and soon, I could not hear him. I missed him because he had served me well in the past, but I was too proud to seek him out. Sometimes, he shouted at me because I was forgetting my values but I had my way. I did the opposite to what he suggested. He was very frustrated with me. He just sat back and watched me go further into the detour. He had severed all communication with me.

Self-worth also tried to redirect me back to the east, but his advice was low on my priority. I was intent on finding my own way. I felt like I did not have to work with Self-worth; he was making too much fuss over insignificant matters. He was telling me to put myself first, but isn't that selfishness? I looked to Spirituality for backing but he told me that he was staying out of the argument. I felt that Self-worth was preventing me from having fun and feeling personal advancement. He wanted me to turn around and go back the other way. I thought ironically how silly of him for wanting me to go to some uncomfortable place; I might get lost. This path was clear with many lanes of roadway going in the same direction. Why would I get off and go back? This road must lead to my destination. After much arguing back and forth without any success, Self-worth closed his eyes and doozed off to sleep. He was leaving me to my own vices.

Spirituality was my constant companion, looking out for me as I made this detour. He defended me wholeheartedly. He didn't mind that I used him as a crutch when I got tired, burnt out, disappointed, frustrated, betrayed or lonely. He was always willing to help. He was pleasant, kind, understanding, non-judgemental, patient and forgiving. I could always turn to him anytime of day or night. He preferred to drive up front with me and to be my constant source of inspiration and direction as long as I asked him. He never imposed his will on me. Sometimes I got very self- assured and sent him to the back of the car because I didn't need his help. He never resisted or asked why. He calmly did as he was told. My eyes well up with tears as I think about him because we had some of the best and worst times together. He supported me through the twists and turns of the journey, even from the back seat of the car. He defended me when I was challenged by tragedies and setbacks along the detour. When I was hit by debris from the roadway, he helped me to pick myself up and get back on the path. He allowed me to make mistakes. He always said "Failure is the best teacher." Whenever I was sad, disappointed or lonely he was always there for me. He never said "I told you so." He taught me important lessons without saying a word. He listened to my whining and complaining without judgement or criticism. He smiled re-reassuringly at me and I always felt better.

Then one day as I travelled along the Highway of Discontentment, I made a realization. I understood what my trusted companions were telling me all along. I had to make a change as I was driving without a road map. I was lost and had to do something about it. I decided to take action immediately and got off at the next exit. I decided to take the path that pointed to Authentic Me. Now I travel with my buddies, Intuition, Self-worth and Spirituality and I listen to them. I pay attention to their advices. I sometimes make mistakes, and go the wrong way, but thank goodness they are my GPS. Even though it took me twenty years to realize it, I have learned many lessons along the detour. I would not change anything about the journey.


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    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thanks James. You are kind. I am on this road to self-discovery and over the last couple of years I've been learning a great deal about myself. A few of my friends have remarked that I have become more confident and comfortable with who I am. I want to agree with them. I however know that I am a work on progress.

      HubPages has given me such a great outlet for my thoughts as well as a tremendous opportunity for me to connect with wonderful people like your self and all my amazing fans on this site.

      Thanks for your support and kind words.

      May God bless and keep you.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed your introspective story. It sounds as if you are on a good track and that your achievements have been more than a few already. I'm rooting for you to arrive safely at your destination.

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      quicksand, thanks for stopping by and for your insightful comment. Indeed, my friend it is the journey that matters. There are however lessons to be learned along the way.

      As always, thanks for your visit.

    • quicksand profile image


      8 years ago

      "He" is sure to place obstacles at the wrong turns. It is not the highway that matters, but the destination. Thanks for another interesting article. Cheers!

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Tammy, thanks for visiting and for your comment. I appreciate your feedback. Like the story of the Wizard of Oz, I always had the road map with me; I just had to look at it for direction.

      Now I am headed due east toward the city of High Achievement. Maybe I'll write about that in five years time.

      Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 

      8 years ago

      I am always grateful for glimpses into someone else's life. It makes me feel less alone in this great big world. I enjoyed this road trip with you.

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      JannyC, thanks for your very kind comment. Indeed it was an eureka moment. I had small moments like that but it was not until after reading Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins, that I realized that I had to decide where the road goes for me. I had to find the road map and stop driving around aimlessly. I started listneing to my intuition and being aware of my spirituality which then allow me to see my self worth.

      You are right some people never make that realization. Even though it took 20 years, it lessons were well taught.

      Thanks for your visit and have a FANTASTIC day.

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Universal Laws, thanks for your wise observation. I refer to these parts of me as companions because you can acknowledge or deny their presence in you. I believe that if you do not acknowledge your intuition or spiritual side then you will be living your life in opposition to your values. If you are living outside of your values then how can you be true to yourself? It will be a life without much fulfillment or self worth.

      Thanks for your visit. Namaste.

    • JannyC profile image


      8 years ago

      Sounds like you had an eureka momment. When finally you pay attention an go Ohhhh that what they have been trying to tell me all these years. You are lucky and normal usually it does take your some 20 years to finally see the light in your path of life. I know some people who STILL have not figured it out. The key is looking inward not outward like some do.

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Shalini, thanks for stopping by and for your comment. Some people use half of their life to find the road map, while other find it earlier on. The positive is that we have our whole life to discover new and exciting things about ourselves. We are truely blessed. We can change our path anytime we desire.

      Have a great day.

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      VioletSun, thanks for visiting and for your comment. Middle age has a way of making people think about what is important or it makes some go crazy and buy a red corvette or trade their spouse in for a newer model. Lol! I much prefer the introspecting.

      I consider this the better half of my life.

      Have a blessed day.

    • Universal Laws profile image

      Universal Laws 

      8 years ago from UNIVERSE

      Great hub, love the way you see these parts of yourself as companions.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      8 years ago from India

      Wonderful imagery and a wonderful read, thank you! So often, we live life without a road map that matters.

    • VioletSun profile image


      8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      This was inspiring to read, as I am also in my middle years, and doing a lot of introspection. Thanks for writing this!

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Wow! someonewhoknows, you are quick! The change is that I am now paying attention to my intuition; I consider myself worthy and I am reaffirming God as my source. Even with the detour, I have learned so much, I wouldn't have it any other way.

      The highway has led me to self discovery and to reconnect with my true values. It leads me home.

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      I take it you haven't decided what that change is!


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