Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Life is Like Driving

The other day, I had a conversation with a friend about some of his previous cad-like behavior.  He's been going to therapy for a while, and he freely admits that the whole "therapy thing" has resulted in a lot more personal growth than he ever anticipated.  This is a good thing!

We were talking about how some of the things he did that were very inconsiderate, and it made me think of a great analogy.  I decided to put some additional thought into it and put it down in writing.

Life is like driving.


You have to keep your eyes on the road - where you're going, what you're doing.
You have to maintain your focus.
You have to pay attention to warning signs.
You have to follow the laws.
You have to be on the lookout for other drivers who may intentionally or unintentionally cause you harm.
You need to keep an occasional glance at your rear view mirror in order to reflect on where you've been and who may be following you.
You can't keep a constant glance in your rear view mirror if you want to safely move forward.
Sometimes, you still have to reflect on where you've been.

For some journeys in life, you might have a few "passengers" with you.
You don't have to conquer this adventure alone because it's okay to let your driving partner take over too.
If you want your fellow passengers to be truly happy, you can't always go where you only want to go.
You have to take your passengers' feelings, wants, and needs into consideration if you want the journey to be more pleasant.
You might find that passenger seat driver to be very annoying at times, but you shouldn't shut them out completely.
Occasionally that passenger seat driver might see something you don't see, and their warning and advice could save you a whole lot of trouble.

You have to clean and maintain the body and the inner workings of your vehicle if you want it to keep it working in optimal shape.
Sometimes you can do the repairs for yourself.
Sometimes you need to hire a professional.

You might need to have someone pull you along for a tow on occasionally, but you can't rely on that as your primary means of getting around.
You might have to give someone else a short tow, a push, or a jump start on occasion.

You have to take other drivers into consideration, and you have to make adjustments to accommodate them.
Sometimes you have to speak up and honk to give an alert of imminent danger or a gentle reminder.
Blasting the horn doesn't really solve problems.

You might see someone else's ride and feel envy towards them, but you have to remember that your own ride is something you've earned and be happy with it since it is getting you where you need to go.

You should stop and do what you can to help if you see a fellow driver is in need while still maintaining a level of safety for yourself.
Sometimes things will go wrong through no fault of your own.
Sometimes you will make mistakes.
Freaking out in a dangerous situation doesn't help.
You have to learn from your mistakes and make corrections.
You shouldn't over-correct either, otherwise you might "get ditched."

Sometimes you might "get ditched" anyway, and you might need to call a friend or a professional to help you keep going about your way.
If you get into a wreck, it doesn't necessarily mean you should give up on driving.

Some sales agents and mechanics will be honest and genuinely helpful.
Some will try to rip you off, but this shouldn't make you lose your faith in humanity.
Rather, this should just become a lesson in learning how to spot the honest, good people who are still out there and do your best to try to exclusively deal with them.

When you're younger, you have a stronger desire to drive fast and make tight turns.
When you're older, you might still have a strong desire to drive fast, but you learn to appreciate the value of being safer and going slower in smoother ride.

When you're younger, you just want to squeeze all of your friends in the car with you to go for a joy ride to just about anywhere.
When you're older, you just want to take your loved ones with you where you need and want to go.

Sometimes you have to stop and take a look around to see the beauty that surrounds you.
Sometimes you need to stop and take breaks for rest, relaxation, and replenishment.
Sometimes you have to pull over because someone else's emergency is more important than your journey right now.
Sometimes you have to speed up.
Sometimes you have to slow down.
Sometimes you just have to get out of the way.
Sometimes you need to pull over and come up with an alternate plan.
Sometimes you have to merge along with your fellow drivers.
Sometimes you have to turn your blinker on to let others know you're about to make an important movement.
Sometimes there are bumps along the road.
Sometimes you have to change lanes.
Sometimes you have to make a U-turn.
Sometimes you have to decide which way to go.
Sometimes things will be on "cruise control."
Sometimes a directional guide will be provided.
Sometimes the guide is WRONG.
Sometimes you will feel like you're surrounded by idiots.
Sometimes you will be RIGHT.
Sometimes you will want to kick your tires in frustration on a bad day.
Sometimes you will smile as you enjoy the sound of a purring engine, the wind in your hair, and the warm sun on a good day.

Hopefully there will be more good driving days than bad days.

If you drive like you're the most important person on the road, practically running people off the road because they're in your way or slowing you down, "riding their butt" (tailgating), cutting people off, and not giving even a modicum of caring about any other drivers' well-being, then everyone's going to hate you for being "that jerk" on the road.  Why?  Because you are, in fact, being *that* jerk, and everybody hates that jerk.  Everybody knows who "that jerk" is too.

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