Recently, my life has taken a turn. A new relationship, closer friendships and an amazing new job. While these are all great and exciting, there is one downside: they are all in different cities. My commute to each city is about an hour, and my commute to work is always at least thirty minutes depending on traffic. This means I spend an unimaginable amount of time each week on the road, behind the wheel of my little gold Honda Civic.
I never thought I would love spending time on the road. As a kid, I dreaded spending time in the car. My parents always had to pimp out our car with mini DVD players and video games. I would pass the time by focusing on the screen in front of me, asking “Are we there yet?” every hour or so.
That’s the thing about being on the road, though. There are no screens to blur your view of the world. As soon as you get behind that wheel, buckle up and hit the interstate you are completely in your own, imperfect world.
As I sit behind the wheel I have the chance to admire the world that I am speeding past. Occasionally, I will notice things that give my life a deeper perspective. The tired dad making his commute to work, drinking coffee because he was playing games with his girls the night before. The troubled teen in the beat up car, heading back to college, who is proud of her ride because she pays for it herself. The sunset, that reminds me that the sun will rise the next morning, bringing a new day with it.
As I sit behind the wheel I have the power to think about anything I want. I daydream. I daydream about my futuristic ideas. I reminisce on my childhood, and what made me into the person I am today. I think about who I love, and who I haven’t heard from in awhile. I think about my goals, and what I can do each day to reach my goals. I think about what I enjoy, whether it is music or advertising strategies or chocolate. I am not limited, I am not discouraged and for that moment, no outside influence can sway me.
As I sit behind the wheel I feel the bumps and potholes of the road beneath me. I think about how I have been there, how life wont always be easy and how my strength has come from trying to be graceful in overcoming difficult times. I hear the sound of the road beneath me, and I think about how many people have traveled on this road. I wonder where they were going and why. I feel the inertia of the turns along winding roads. I am reminded that life can feel that way sometimes, like you are being pulled along uncontrollably. When I make that turn, however, I feel more alive than ever. Life is supposed to have an inertia that everyone can feel.
Sitting behind the wheel each week might be bad for my back, might cost a lot in gas money and means I have to (over)pack a bag every week. Sitting behind the wheel also signifies my own personal escape, a chance to discover myself without the influence of anything other than the road and my favorite music. Life is about the ride, and discovering yourself is all about the roads you take.