Quote: How We Get There

As many of you know, I’m reading the new Kate Atkinson, Life After Life – out 14th March 2013- and apart from being a fabulous, high-quality reading that I highly recommend to anyone, it has made me think about life. This is the thing about great books, they make you think, they question how you see life and in the end, they can actually change how you approach everything. This is reason I’ve always read, not only because I love it and cannot conceive a life without books, but because I want to learn and I want to be challenged.

So, when I read the following quote in Atkinson’s Life After Life, I knew I had to share it:

“We all get on”, Sylvie said, “one way or another. And in the end we all arrive at the same place. I hardly see that it matters how we get there.”

It seemed to Ursula that how you get there was the whole point, but there was nothing to be gained from arguing with Sylvie on the days she was mired in gloom.

(p. 238)

I think nowadays we focus so much on what we want or what we think we want. We are brought up to be overachievers: in school, in our personal lives,  in our jobs, even in our reading (“I HAVE to read xxx books”). But what about how we get there? How about the process we embark on when we decide to get a degree? What about the actual process of reading our books instead of marking them as numbers in our list to achieve a goal? What about life? Atkinson’s quote reminded me of John Lennon’s quote “Life’s what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

It seems to me too, that how we get there is the whole point. Life is made of processes and goals are just small moments we are supposed to live for. They are what drive our lives and our efforts, of course they are important, but they are tiny moments that can blind us. So, after reading the quote, I’ve realised it is the process what matters since, after all, “process” is another name for life.



  • Lucy (@tolstoytherapy)

    Thank you for posting about this 🙂 I’m certainly going to buy this book – it sounds great! I love reading novels that cause me to question and consider life; they’re always the ones that I return to again and again. It’s hard to think of an example that isn’t by Tolstoy (my answer to everything it seems!). I’d probably say that The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende fits the category for me.

  • Leah

    Great quote! I totally agree, and it reminds me of the quote about the journey being more important than the destination. It is through the process of “getting there” that we have important, unexpected experiences and learn about ourselves and the world around us 🙂

    • Elena

      I agree. In recent years I’ve found lots of surprises and happiness in exploring and learning about mysel which sadly sounds as if I were a 80-year old lady.

    • Elena

      I hear you! Sometimes I focus so much on having something that once I get it feels as nothing special. It’s a shame we sometimes think like that.

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