Hello! I’m still alive.
As you know, I moved.
Most of it was done the weekend before last. It was a strange weekend filled with a bloody hand, dead frogs, power outages, creepy basements, a stalker, and goodbyes – but all went well. The rest of the week was focused on making the new place home and getting our affairs in order. I admit it was also nice to take a break from this site and just be present in my life, but I hope I haven’t lost any of you!
Monday marked my the start of my new commute.
It took me a little over a half hour, flying freely down the highway. Beautiful.
Tuesday morning, I confidently left for work at the same time as the previous day, anticipating another half hour of high speeds down the highway. Wrong. As I drove up the on-ramp, I was greeted by bumper-to-bumper traffic. What!? I whipped out my phone, pulled up Google Maps, and checked the traffic forecast.* Red. For the next ten miles. This would add an extra twenty minutes or more to my trip.
Crap! I quickly sent a frustrated message to a co-worker to let her know I’d be late.
As I inched along at nine miles per hour, I considered my options: stay on the highway and waste gas or get off on the first exit in half a mile and take the unfamiliar back roads to work. Either way, I’d be late. Easy choice: cruise a new path! I exited the highway.
The next ten miles brought me to winding roads lined with rustic wooden fences, hidden lakes, an abandoned Santa’s Village with giant candy canes sticking out along the road like the sad remains of Christmas, clusters of churches with towering spires, horse stables, and beautiful homes nestled among the trees. As I drove past a picturesque home perched atop a hill, surrounded by miles of fences, I smiled. I almost laughed.
So there I was, grinning at the lovely scenery without a worry while Carole King’s Tapestry plays over the stereo.
I realized how incredibly glad I was that traffic was backed up and how free it felt to make the choice to leave while everyone else inched along in frustration.
When I arrived to work a half hour late, everything was fine. I didn’t miss anything.
Often, most of us don’t realize we actually have a choice.
Don’t like something? Change it.
Next time you’re tired of the same old scene, take a different route.
So what if you’re a little late? Allow yourself the break. Breathe. Smile.
This experience reminded me of the times in college when I would venture down into town, find the bike path, pick a direction and just walk. See where the path would take me. See how far I could go. See what I could find. I was often surprised and pleased: hidden lakes, family-owned shops, small farms, strange signs, cows in the middle of nowhere, rivers, old wooden playgrounds, graveyards, quirky topiary, friendly strangers, and wildlife. Taking these walks was my entertainment.
So, if you’re home and on the couch, channel-surfing or thinking to yourself, “I’m bored,” get off your butt, get out of the house, and go! Breathe some fresh air.
Whether it be a walk down the street, a drive down a road you’ve never been, or a specific local destination you’ve wanted to visit but haven’t yet, go. It doesn’t matter where you live or what the weather is like. Consider your options. Open your eyes. Look at everything around you with wonder. Learn.
I leave you with a familiar line by Robert Frost, one of my favorite poets:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
* Google maps has a feature that allows you to see real-time traffic flow. Green indicates that all cars are traveling smoothly at the speed limit; yellow shows that cars are driving slower than usual; red means cars are driving very slow; and black means the road is a parking lot.