The Importance of Checkpoints in Life

The Importance of Checkpoints in Life

What more could I possibly request out of life? I spent a lot of my days plotting on how to make that come true; I wanted to become a writer — fixated on music — more thinking than typing occurred. The Source, Vibe Magazine, DJ Booth, NPR: these were a handful of the publications that nudged my ambition to push my pen further.

In May of 2016, I would receive an email from The Source’s Editor-In-Chief; I finally would be applying more pressure to my dream. The experience and knowledge I gained while working with The Source will carry me through as I continue my writing career. However, the fall of my satisfaction took an unwanted turn. I did it. Now my words curved direction for one of the most popular publications in the world, but now what? I had looked at this goal for so much time as the grand scheme of my entire life. Without touching religion, this still wouldn’t be anywhere close to my conclusion with success and endeavors. At the time, I didn’t see things that way. The bigger picture had been framed — what looked to be the biggest picture. I raised questions against myself, wondering “what’s next?” What’s next? Well, there’s more to the picture. There’s an abundance of achievements that can be periodically framed and placed upon the mantel of life.

“It’s so important to look at everything as milestones and not the grand achievements…checkpoints along, on the road to, heaven” — Chance The Rapper — Complex interview

Chance was nominated for seven Grammys, an accomplishment that would have seemed farfetch a year prior. Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance and Best New Album; Chance is indeed the man. While all of these awards are amazing, there is still more out there for Chance to achieve and he’s doing just that. His donation to Chicago’s public schools, free events in the city, etc, can contest to such. Optimistic in his meeting with Bruce Rauner, he understood that there was more work to be done.

Stagnation is not unprecedented to our daily lives. Often, I find myself staring at my reflection in the mirror with the constant question of “what’s next?” As stagnated as I stood before my reflection, so does my thoughts; I am not exempt from this matter. Low in spirit, high in pessimistic reality, my dreams fight in between the concernment of both. Retaining certain accomplishments as your end-all finish in life can be damaging to the soul and bring unwanted damage to your ambition. Keep in mind, it depends on what IT is, we must be detailed in what we’re pursuing.

As Author Nathan Feiles points out, there can be small checkpoints as well; going out on the weekends, planning a dinner, night out with friends, etc. But after the sun sets on Sunday, the bill comes to the table of four and the music in the club stops, it’s vital to bring about more checkpoints. Nathan stresses that some checkpoints will feel (likely be) more daunting in comparison to others; do not get discouraged. A prime example may be work, school, chores. Some checkpoints will be huge, while others appear as minuscule.

The more checkpoints that surface, the more you’ll see that life is worth it. The less checkpoints, the more you may look at life as worthless.

For Chance, his finish line/grand achievement is heaven; the gates that are secure is the ultimate goal for many. I too am the same. For you, the reader, I don’t know your story, but I hope you know it. What are you aiming for, ultimately? Do you feel that when you finally reach what you craved for so long, that you’ll grow stagnant and not wish to move forward with more goals? These are questions I had to ask myself after achieving a goal that I longed for, for over four years. More pieces to your puzzle will fit into your life over time. I remain incomplete, but there will be more to come from my journey and yours as well, sincerely.

Often times, like Chance The Rapper once felt with his Grammy achievements, we think of certain achievements as the final stage in our journey; there are plenty more steps to climb on the ladder of existence. We can feel stagnate and negative feelings can smother us whole. I call it the “adolescent December 30th” feeling: the week after Christmas when you’re a kid and you’ve opened up all of your gifts, family members that you scarcely see leave, the tree trimmings slim down and the thought of going back to school in a few days sounds awful. As a kid, I didn’t have much to look forward to after Christmas and that low didn’t escape me until as an adult; it never dawned on me that there were days to live after Santa had delivered on his promises. Christmas was my grand achievement and nothing after truly mattered in comparison to the anticipation and arrival of December 25. As I aged, I found the importance of distinguishing checkpoints from my ultimate purpose; heaven’s gated community.

Until reached, checkpoints shall serve as such and nothing more — not my end-all fate — there is more work to be done along the path of life. Yes, Chance may have achieved things most can’t even dream about, but his reality continues and there will be more checkpoints to point out before he checks out. Be mindful to check in —  in between checkpoints  —  pointing out significant moments that hold rank and weight.

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