Thursday, June 27, 2013

Are We THERE Yet?

Remember when you were little, driving in the back of your family's car on a long road trip? Nearing that hot, cramped, stuffy, restless point where you just wanted to frickin' GET there, already....and each additional mile that you were not at your destination grew more and more painful? Of course you couldn't help but whine, more than once, those words every parent dreads:


These feelings of longing to get to one's destination are not exclusive to children, though, are they? As adults in the driver's seat, any long and tedious journey begs for a destination...a place where we can be comfortable again, stretch our legs, shake off the road weariness, and settle in.

This example of reaching a destination on a road trip can also apply to reaching destinations in life. 

The "long road trip" could be an extensive project at work that's been dragging on forever, taking up all of your time. Or a relationship that has gone on for months, and still not arrived at that point where you know it's going to result in a permanent union. The road trip could be a goal or dream that you've been working toward all your life, that's taking forever to get off the ground. Or saving up for the down payment on a house you've been wanting to buy. In my case, right here and now, the destination is being settled in my new city with a lucrative job that enables me to put down roots.

And sometimes....just when we're almost there, and the road sign says it's only seven more miles, and we feel that mounting relief that we can finally get OUT of the car....we see this.


Once again, we are not almost there. More miles, more time, and more waiting in an uncomfortable place have been unexpectedly added to the journey. We don't know how in the world we'll endure this setback.

Well, here are a couple of things to consider. The detour is there for a reason. Obviously, something is wrong with the road you would have normally taken, and so you must find another way around--but you are still moving toward your destination. Yes, it's going to take longer, but as long as you keep'll eventually get there.

My most recent "detour" has been leaving a job that was not a good match for me. It was a job that had finally allowed me to start working toward being settled in my new city so that I could find a decent place to live, put down roots, and continue full-power toward the continuation of publishing my novels. All during the first few months of life in my new city, as I looked for permanent work, I kept wriggling around in the back seat and calling out, "Are we THERE yet??" Then I landed the job, and felt like I was finally there! I gave that job my all, but it just wasn't a good fit for me and I had to take the big, risky step of letting it go--even when nothing else was lined up in its place. My journey wasn't done after all. Now, I find myself on a detour around this little road block, in search of the new path that will help me continue toward my destination.

I don't know about you, but sometimes...I really hate to be told to "just be patient." Especially when you've been being patient for months and years on end. Sometimes that trite statement just doesn't cut it.

Here is a handy and more constructive "survival kit," if you will, on surviving another hour in that car.

1) Try to enjoy the journey. Look out the window at the view, play distracting road games where you must spot things outside the vehicle, and try not to miss anything good.

2) Don't give in to restlessness, fear, or the sensation of being "stuck." Open the window, take a blast of fresh air to the face, breathe deeply, and know that you're always moving toward your goal even though it doesn't feel like it. If you're the only one in the car, let out a good earth-shattering primal scream.

3) Sing. Yes, you heard me. Sing! Remember, this is just a when I say sing, translate that however you want into something that makes you feel elation right in the moment, and passes the time in a positive way.

4) Ask someone to pass the snacks and drinks. It's important to stay well-nourished and take care of yourself.

5) Talk to other people in the car. Keep reminding one another how great it will feel to get to the resort, walk on the beach, swim in the refreshing hotel pool, and all the other rewards of finally arriving. If there's no one to talk to, have these feel-good conversations with yourself, in your head.

6) Finally, and most that you WILL get there. It might take longer than you thought, you might have to squirm a bit longer, the road may not look familiar, but there will always be signs pointing you in the right direction. So keep watching carefully for those signs.....and trust.

I know a lot of this might sound very cliche, but maybe it's because this survival kit really works.

So wish me luck as I make my way carefully around this detour and search hopefully for my new and lucrative "put down roots" job. And whatever detours you might be in the midst of, I wish you all the best in reaching YOUR destination too.