Almost 2 years ago now, I was driving with Joe (my boyfriend) to the beach for a romantic long weekend. The first part of our trek was to drop off his son at his parents’ house in Atlanta. So, we drove from Virginia to Atlanta to meet up with his parents. This was a long 12 hour drive. FYI, I do not travel well in the car. I get motion sick and I just don’t enjoy long road trips.
The second leg of the trip was another long drive of about 12 hours from Atlanta to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. There is no real direct way to get from Atlanta to the Outer Banks… so it was a long drive.
At some point during this second leg, I was driving and getting extremely impatient with how long this drive was taking. So, I started to speed up… zip around cars… had to hit my brakes a few times to avoid rear ending a few cars… not my finest hour.
I hit my brakes for the third time and Joe (who was quiet most of the time) yells SLOW DOWN!
This immediately shifted me out of my crazed I-gotta-get-there-faster mode and I realized how crazy I was being.
The thing is… that drive was going to take about 12 hours whether I wanted it to or not. So, I had a choice. I could drive like an asshole and worry about the drive taking too long. OR I could drive safely and choose to enjoy the journey and have fun.
When we are flying through our day… through our lives… you have to ask yourself “What are you chasing?” Is it the clock? Happiness? Pleasure? or maybe you’re running FROM something… avoiding a conflict… avoiding dealing with what’s real right now.
Maybe you’re so used to moving at light speed that you don’t even know what you’re missing out on.
10 years ago, my oldest daughter Kelley who was 7 at the time was diagnosed with cancer. Osteosarcoma. Up until that point I had been in a hurry for Kelley to grow up. We, as young parents, all do this. I can’t wait until she can talk. I can’t wait until she goes to school. I can’t wait until she grows out of this whiney phase. And so on. Having 2 younger children, I was definitely looking forward to Kelley being more self sufficient.
Then, life throws us a curve ball and I woke up. What am I in such a rush for? And NOW… I don’t know how long I’ve got. So, I shifted very quickly into enjoying every minute with her. I still got frustrated and angry as a parent… but I laughed and cuddled and smiled so much more.
Driving in the car… I would enjoy the time singing along to a song with my kids. Acting silly. Seat dancing. Who cares if there’s traffic! I chose to find the joy and happiness in the moment.
This was a life lesson that has served me well to this day. I forget it sometimes… I’m only human. Kelley did not live past 9. The cancer won the battle in the end. But I know that I enjoyed every moment I could with her and I choose to find the fun, happiness and joy with my other 2 children. They’re 13 and 15 now and we are so silly together. I love it!
Here’s the thing… if you’re always worried about what’s coming up… rushing through the steps to get to the end goal… you’ve missed so many opportunities for happiness and fun. In fact, it’s guaranteed you’re going to miss something that you may regret later.
We are only in this life once. So live it. Stop chasing and blurring through life so that you can hopefully reach a better destination. What if you spent 5 years of your life chasing a dream… only to get there and realize it isn’t that great. And since you didn’t pay attention to your life during those 5 years… you’ve essentially lost 5 years of your life.
At least, hopefully, you’ll self check and slow down moving forward.
It’s your choice to create a happy and fun life,