Like many millennials I’ve come to really appreciate the convenience of online shopping. There’s something satisfying about ordering an item and getting it in the mail two days later. It’s easy because I don’t have to leave my house. I can remember something I forgot at the store, order it it in less than five minutes and then forget about it. Last year I decided that it was time to get a new car. My 1998 Honda Civic had been reliable and great on gas but it was challenging driving a stick shift in 3 hours of rush hour Atlanta traffic every day. Like many people, I knew I didn’t want to go to various car dealerships getting price quotes and dealing with shady car salesmen. So I decided to go with the online option because I thought it would be less stressful. And I was right. I picked a car, got financing approved and it took about an hour. My car arrived five days later and the company dropped it off at my house. It was the first time that I had the chance to test drive the car and I had 7 days to try it out before deciding if I wanted to keep it or get my money back. Definitely an experience I’ll do again.
I must admit that living in the metro area of a city known for its traffic has been quite the adjustment. While I prefer it to sliding along the highway in a blinding snowstorm, allowing a minimum of an hour to go places can be inconvenient. Currently I work about 30 miles from where I live. Without traffic (and speeding) I can make it from work to my house in about 25 minutes. However, in the instances that there is traffic I’ve (by trial and error) to allow at LEAST an hour and half to make the journey. As I was sitting in traffic (literally not moving), I thought about how much you have to prepare ahead while driving. If your exit is coming up you have to start the process of begging and cutting in to make it all the way over to the right hand lane. It’s all about planning ahead and putting yourself in a position that makes it easier to make it to your destination without any additional stress. In life things rarely go according plan (hard lesson to learn by the way), but I’ve learned that sometimes the detours provide the best scenery and give you experiences you wouldn’t have had if you weren’t forced to get off the beaten trail. Yes, it may take longer but there’s a lot of value in appreciating the journey on the way to your destination.
A few weeks ago. the brake light came on in my car. It happened while I was driving but quickly turned off when I took my foot off the gas. I ignored it. As the weeks passed my brake light came on more and more often. I knew the brake wasn’t on and there wasn’t any weird noise happening so I continued to ignore it. In fact, I started to appreciate the extra light on my dashboard that came from the light being on. This continued to the point where the brake light was almost on all the time. It became almost constantly on from the time that I started the car until the time that I turned it off. Almost comforting in a way. I could have called my dad and asked about it (my usual plan of action on anything concerning my car) but I didn’t. I could have googled information about it and problem solved on my own but I didn’t do that either. Instead I just ignored it until it became comfortable. This past weekend my dad visited me in person and I finally told him about the brake light. Turns out it was a three minute solution. My car just needed more brake fluid. So now I drive around and my dashboard is strangely (or so it seems) dimmer because the bright red light isn’t on anymore. It makes me thing about all the times that we ignore things that are problems until we just become comfortable with it. People who are in abusive relationships to the point that it just becomes normal because they can’t clearly remember anything different. People who get caught up in negative cycles because they ignore red flags until the red flags are no longer important to them. Sometimes you have to learn to be uncomfortable with dysfunction because you’re so used to it that it has become normal. It’s a similar concept with people who are recovering from addictions of some sort. They have to re-learn how to live without the addictive behavior or substance because it has become such a way of life. However, the beginning step of this process is challenging the dysfunctional or “normal” reality that they have created and taking the necessary steps to create a new normal.
It seems as if all my trips these days are a challenge against logistics and timing. One thing that I’m happy about is the fact that I am traveling more–as I have vowed to do this year. One thing I especially like to do is visit the Southern states. So I made a “quick” 14 hour (one way) road trip down to Dallas and it’s been so nice. It’s interesting how different various regions of the States are so different from each other. I love laidback formality of the South and just the overall feel. One thing that has been fun during this trip has been people-watching. It’s interesting how one’s standards of what is attractive can change based on who they see around them on a frequent basis. I’ve definitely noticed this myself. It’s been an awesome time, and as usual, I’m dreading the long drive back and am already plotting ways to catch up on the sleep that I’m lacking at this point. It’s interesting how feeling so exhausted can also be exhilarating due to the thrill of a new place. However, life does go on and it’s important to remember to stop and smell the roses at time. Reuniting with old friends and getting away from routine can be rejuvenating–and in my case it’s that. Can’t wait to do this again.