When you’re on the road – be it on foot or wheels – you usually have a good amount of time to THINK and then think some more. My thoughts range anywhere from, “It’s 7am and I really want a taco” to “Why do they want Thor to be a woman? Let Thor be manly Thor and come up with an original female superhero!” to “This is it. This is my life. I am a child of the road now. This is how I die.” And I’m not saying these things just to be funny. These are actual things I’ve thought about either while I’m commuting or running…. oh yeah, slow jogging.
And while there are several lessons to be learned from life on the road, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is about comparing your life to others. Let me break this down for you.
Any seasoned commuter knows the frustration of trying to find the “perfect lane”. The perfect lane moves at a consistent pace (even if that pace is 10 mph), people aren’t cutting in front of you and then back out again, there aren’t any “brake happy” skittish drivers who tend to brake fast and/or last-minute, and you’re either keeping in step or passing up drivers in the other lanes. THAT is what a perfect lane looks like. You know it when you’re in it.
On the flip side of things, you also know when you’ve chosen wrong. People are passing you up, they “bully” you from behind as if you can make the traffic go any faster, and no matter how hard you try you can’t merge into the next lane because it’s either too crowded or you can’t get enough speed to move over so that you don’t get creamed. THAT is what the wrong lane looks like. Again, you know it when you’re in it.
Unfortunately, I’ve spent more time in the wrong lanes than I’d like to admit. Sometimes you just kind of end up in a bad lane – other times, you willfully make the switch thinking it’s a good idea and then you get stuck and regret every single life choice you’ve made up until that point. Or at least I do. I tend to be a bit dramatic. Whatever. Shut up.
So what do you do? How do you end up in the perfect lane? Two words: Move Forward.
Not so surprisingly, these are the words I often yell at other drivers (who can’t hear me). It’s either “Move forward!”, “The gas is the RIGHT pedal!”, or “Please just move. Do something.”
Outside of the car, these are words I usually yell at myself ESPECIALLY when I’m looking at the progress others are making in their lives. “Nicole, move forward! Do SOMETHING!”, I say with every ounce of frustration I can muster. And I get weary and sad from spending so much time being hard on myself because I just can’t seem to reach the destination that others have made it to in less time and on a seemingly easier route.
But here’s the thing: just like driving a car, you can’t successfully move forward if you’re too busy looking around you and comparing your route and/or driving abilities to others. You might have your foot on the gas, but you’ll either crash or go slower if your focus is anywhere but the lane you’re traveling on.
Yes, the drive (a.k.a. life) can feel long and frustrating. Sometimes you’ll catch a break and ride the perfect lane for a while. But the trick is to look forward, enjoy the ride, and be thankful for every bump, bend, and smooth travels.
Oh, and don’t forget to pack car snacks 🙂