Mindfulness, Personal

On The Road Again

The other week I was driving a route I have driven many times before. Lyrics of the song “On The Road Again” looped in my head, and I found my thoughts drifting as they often do when I drive. To me, driving is meditation to a certain extent. I would say this is mostly because I only drive when I want to and I find it peaceful. Also, I am often driving to a destination that I really want to be heading, which makes me happy. Honestly, I loathe the thought of a long commute. Kudos to those of you who do it on a daily basis or even just a few days a week!

Nonetheless, during my recent drive, I was thinking about all of the kilometres I have put on my car over the last five or six years. There have been long drives to visit friends, random overnighters, frequent hockey games, and the odd spontaneous outlet mall visit. The drives have included many playlists, conversations, and emotions; however, most of all I have taken joy in the journey, not just the destination.

Too often we are in a rush to get to where we are going. We do not take the time to smell the roses or enjoy the journey. We are too busy looking at the “what’s next.” Highways have been built to get to where we are going faster; toll routes to make things even more convenient and quicker. What happened to taking the winding back roads?

Taking the back roads

One time we were on our way to Hamilton from a Vaughan Mills shopping trip when we found ourselves being re-routed. There had been a massive accident on the highway (which there are sadly too many of nowadays) and suddenly our short 50-minute drive turned into a three-hour drive. So, what did we do? My friend Kim and I had one of the most memorable trips I have ever had. For almost the entire three hours, in stop and go traffic, we played old school Mad Libs. It led to some of our greatest (now) inside jokes (#KimmieGGoesToPeterborough) and we laughed so hard we cried – we made what could have been a frustrating experience into a memorable one.

On another trip to the west side, my friend and I did a two-hour detour to Peterborough. We went two hours out of our way just to visit some of our previous favourite hangouts. We went for a quick visit with my horse, and took the slower route along highway seven. Sunroof open and the tunes blasting, we sang most of the way to Peterborough, enjoying the warm, late-summer air. When you’re not in a rush you have the ability to appreciate those small, significant moments.

Life is an “on the road again” moment

I am becoming more comfortable in the journey with each passing week. Whether I am jumping into the car or focusing on the journey of life, I need to realize that I’m going to be “on the road again” whether I like it or not. When they say that “change is the only constant in life” they are not wrong. We need to be adaptable, flexible, and willing to be re-routed to the back roads.

Enjoy the twists and turns, the Mad Libs and the music. Take note of the people who are willing to climb into the passenger seat beside you and help you laugh until you cry. Take notice the people who don’t meet you half-way on your journey. Recognize the friends that do not appreciate the kilometres (literally or metaphorically) that you put into your relationship. Life isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. You never know when that winding backroad might just be the journey you were seeking after all. It’s time to get on the road again…

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