What do you think about when you’re driving? My family and I recently returned home from a long journey… 4,500 miles of driving over seven weeks. As we drove the last leg, I thought about the experiences we had on the road during our journey. Some of the driving was scenic, beautiful, and easy without much traffic. Other times driving was challenging… road construction, detours, closed exits, lots of traffic, etc. As I looked at the road in front of us and the cars around us, I thought about driving and analogies to life.
What follows are a few:
Twists and turns
The hard stop
Gaining and losing momentum
Signs are confusing… which way to go?
The different roles we play… pilot, co-pilot, and passenger
When bad weather hits
What is my destination and why am I going there?
I can’t believe what I see in the rearview mirror
The fog is thick… I can’t see
My car is covered in snow… I have to dig out before starting my journey
Taking the scenic route
I got cut off
The exit is closed
I’m pulling a trailer and nobody will let me in!
I’m going to be late
I just hit a pothole
Being on the road is a great way to examine life and how we, and others, react. The frustration level can be sky high. Can we handle it? How do we feel when we don’t know where we are? How about when the route totally changes? When an accident happens? When others cut us off or don’t let us in?
Feeling like you get an “A”? Maybe not quite there?
The two issues that bother me the most while driving are feeling scared because others are driving recklessly and being lost in an unknown place. When I think about my life, these translate into lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn.
I can’t change others’ behavior. The best thing I can do is to continue on… be a calm force… don’t get drawn into the sadness or negativity… give love and positivity, but back off. Many times being a calm and loving influence is powerful and plants seeds for change.
I recently went through a period in life feeling lost. I didn’t even know my destination. It was scary and sad. Everything felt unknown. Figuratively speaking, I pulled myself to the side of the road and gathered my thoughts… Where am I ultimately headed? What is my destination? From my reflection, I developed my life vision, which gives me direction. It is my map to life. Sometimes the roads are unclear and I don’t know how I’m going to get there, but as long as I know where I’m headed I am excited and thrilled for life.
The next time you’re taking a drive, look at the road, the cars around you, and the rearview mirror, and think about the following questions…
What bothers me when I drive?
How does it translate into struggles I’m having or struggles I’ve overcome?
When I face a challenge while driving observe my reaction… What can I learn?
What is going on in my life that mirrors the challenging driving experience?
When we drive, we’re forced to overcome challenges. We have no choice but to problem solve. Thinking through the alternatives and making decisions can help us see more clearly how we may approach challenging situations in life. What follows are a few examples:
Detours can be really annoying. They take time and throw us off our route. However, detours allow us to see different areas and expose us to unexpected new paths.
Bad weather is no fun to drive in. It slows us down and can be scary. However, bad weather forces us to focus. Sometimes experiences that slow us down and put us in the present moment are very valuable.
Nobody will let me in. Anger, rejection, and hostility are just some of the emotions that being shut-out conjure up. However, there will be an opening and a little patience will reveal it.
What examples come to your mind? It’s amazing what some time on the road can teach us!