"Quest: The act or instance of seeking or pursuing something..."
Over the last few days the word "quest" has popped up in three or four different articles I've read.
The latest one:
Chris Guillebeau is a young man who visited every country in the world. It took him a little over ten years to accomplish, but he set himself this quest - the word he used - and achieved it.
I've always paired the word "quest" with the phrase "Holy Grail." All the King Arthur stories have a thread running through them about the Holy Grail as the ultimate quest, and the knights' duty to find it.
Somewhere in my head, the recent discussions about New Year's resolutions and goals and changes-for-life and "journey to health" all came together - aren't we on a quest?
Chris Guillebeau's quest was to visit every country in the world. Jason and his Argonauts were on a quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Wasn't Dorothy Gale's quest to get back to Kansas?
Beyond the stuff of myths and fairy tales, there are real-life quests: explorer Richard Byrd striving to get to the North Pole... scientist Marie Curie working to prove the existence of uranium... doctor Jonas Salk researching to find a polio vaccine.
The quest is the journey we all talk about: the effort, the work, the attempts - some successful, some not - to reach the goal we've set ourselves.
Quests are prone to setbacks and obstacles - how many attempts did Edmund Hillary make before he succeeded in ascending Mount Everest? How many times did Mary Lou Retton compete before winning an Olympic gold medal?
Even if we fail to reach our goals, surely we are better for having tried, for having planned and worked and traveled on a quest, than spending our time wandering haphazardly, without purpose.
A popular saying is "progress, not perfection." To that end, I think any progress is better than none.
So: I'm on a quest for better health. I want to live longer. I want to be fitter. I want to retain a quality of life, a vitality, right up until my last day.
Losing weight, controlling my blood sugar, reducing my blood pressure, building muscle mass, getting the right nourishment - all this will add up to success in my quest for better health.
Yes, there will be (have been) setbacks. It's easy to get sidetracked. But as long as I keep the goal - health - clearly in my sights, I believe I can reach it.
And if, at the end of the day, I'm healthier than I was last year, and healthier than I am today, then the journey - the quest - will have been worth the effort.
Random thoughts on a Tuesday morning... 'ave a good 'un, Sparklers. Carpe diem!