Every day is a struggle to make sense of it all. ‘Life is a Road: Unpredictable, Winding, & Complicated‘ is an analogy I think we can all get behind.
The roads we travel in life swerve, dip and bend unexpectedly, guiding us down avenues we never envisioned we’d take. Unpredictable weather often blurs the visibility of our destination and unseen hazards lurk in darkness, preying on unsuspecting motorists. By the time we see them, the damage is already done.
When we’re young we press hard on the gas pedal and take little time to consider our next turn. This, inevitably, leads to countless dead-ends and wrong-ways as we eagerly explore the unknown. A good traveler learns not to take those streets again. With our total mileage low and gas reserves full, getting lost in our enthusiasm or ambition is not yet an inconvenience. If anything it’s expected, almost necessary, to test what our vehicles are made of.
As we get older, we take a more conscientious approach to our navigation. Conservation and caution become primary concerns; familiar roads are preferred to minimize the potential for risks. An occasional detour keeps the adventure interesting but spontaneity is mostly, if not entirely, thrown out the window. Plans must be made prior to venturing off the beaten path—habits of a reasonable, responsible driver.
Practical routes are safer. They’re predictable, but it often leads us into a tunnel; one where loneliness tails closely, even if someone travels beside us. The light in the distance is promising but far, and it’s easy to make plans to get to the end, but many never reach it. Cruise control is a handy option during this uneventful, scene-less part of our journey, but using it is ill-advised because it makes us complacent with our speed. It’s best to keep nudging our foot on the gas lest we extend the time it takes to reach the tunnel’s end.
As we drive deeper into the tunnel, which is always on the verge of collapse, it can seem like an endless venture with few options available to detour. U-turns are impossible, all roads are one-way, and our narrow rearviews constantly tease us with images of roads long passed. It can be a torturous affair, looking back, but it should serve as a reminder of how far we’ve gone.
In between it all, throughout the dips and curves, we all too often find ourselves traversing dark alleyways and tunnels with dimmed headlights. The poorly written rules of the road, unfollowed by far too many fellow motorists, are hard to see, confusing, and change with our location in time. This makes navigation challenging, treacherous, deadly.
Our exteriors vulnerable, fear urges us to protect our vehicle and those who travel along with us. Driving slower, with vigilant eyes cautiously monitoring for roadside dangers, is our best bet for survival. The old saying goes, ‘The best defense is a good offense,’ and is true of the road.
We must make several pitstops to maintain our vehicle’s health but the complex mechanisms under the hood are constantly pushed to near-breakdown levels. Wear and tear increases with age—undercarriage leakage should be expected—but it’s sometimes a miracle we make it as far in our journey as we do.
But in time, our vehicles die and our parts must be recycled.
Currently, thick layers of fog cloud our streets. It has sent many of us careening down a steep hill toward uncertain futures with a locked steering wheel. The murkiness will lift someday and the land will level, but at this time we must proceed cautiously, both hands on the wheel, our pace moderate. There will be times when we feel nothing but lost, driving around in darkness with burnt-out headlights, and every turn feels like the wrong one, but we must keep driving.
Life is short, the road is long, and we all reach its end eventually. Keep moving forward toward your horizon. You’ll get there someday.
Before You Go!
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