Friday, January 25, 2008

The Road Trip Of Life

Yesterday was a quiet day. It started out with me freezing to death while pumping gas into my car. It was very windy and I felt like I was out on a prairie in the middle of winter trying to fix the wheel on my covered wagon so I could get through the next pass before the big snow. See, with my imagination I can even make the mundane experience of getting gas for the car seem like a great adventure! After I got to work I thought the highlight of my day would be going to the grocery store last night. The weekend was coming and the cupboard was bare. If for no other reason beyond my hunger we needed to pick up a few things because Chloe was coming over this weekend. One of her favorite things is Nestle's Strawberry milk. She calls it "pink chocolate milk". Then, unexpectedly, I received an email from my daughter in law wondering if I could pick up Chloe at the day care. When that happened I was ready to leave my office for the day, go get Chloe, and have some real fun. Alas, I had to finish the workday first but this new assignment gave me a sense of purpose in my life for the rest of the day. I hadn't seen Chloe for a couple of weeks and that seemed like an eternity. I was really missing her. Chloe has come a long way from the little infant that used to wrap her fingers around my thumb and use her other hand to tug on my beard. When I got to the day care, she yelled my name, ran towards me, and jumped in my arms. I received a very intense hug. Receiving such a reception is not a bad way to end your day!

Whenever I am on a road trip, it seems the closer I get to my destination the slower the miles seem to pass by. There's a music venue north of Indianapolis that my friends and I sometimes go to on warm summer nights to listen to live music. One problem with this place is that the area is on Central Standard Time and Louisville is on Eastern Standard Time. So, when the show is over and you have to drive home, you are already one hour behind. The drive is mostly on interstates and through rural areas. In the middle of the night you can feel like you are in the middle of nowhere and sometimes you really are. Eventually, you begin getting sleepy and the drive becomes really boring. When you see the sign that says "Louisville 30 Miles" you feel a sense of joy that you are almost home. The bad news is that this last 30 miles usually feels like 600 miles. At that point I think, "I will never do this again"! On a different level, on the road trip of my life, the closer I get to the end, the faster the miles seem to go by. The longer you live, the faster life seems to go. Of course, I think this might only be true while you are still living an active life. I think for people like my father or mother in law, who are elderly and in poor health, the days may seem like weeks. It's really all about perception since everyday, whether it's a great day or a bad day, there are only 24 hours. Our perception of time and life is controlled by our attitude. A good attitude, coupled with the practice of mindfulness, can make a great day seem eternal and a bad day seem to pass quickly. A bad attitude can be like a dark cloud that hides the sunlight and makes our days long and dreary and seemingly never ending. However long the road trip of life lasts, one should enjoy the journey as much as the arrival.

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