And how these two things are similar.
This weekend I had been to Lake Tahoe with my family (wife, two kids, and mom-in-law). While driving to the Tahoe and also while coming back, there were moments where all family members had slept in the car for some period. When everyone is sleeping in the car, I get my alone time to talk to myself a.k.a. “deep thinking” :).
I love driving, especially the long-distance driving. It provides these opportunities for thinking about the future, retrospecting about the past or doing some deep thinking about topics of interest.
This time the topic of interest was — the long-distance driving and its similarities to living your life.
Driving — when you’re in control
When you’re driving a long distance, there are a few times when you experience that you are in total control of your driving — its direction, speed, experience, etc. You have multiple route options to choose from, and once you choose a route and start driving, there is no other car in front of you, so you can decide to drive fast and get to the destination sooner or decide to drive slow and enjoy the natural beauty around you while driving.
Living life — when you’re in control
In life also, you might notice that you have similar experiences. There are a few times when you have multiple options in front of you so that you can choose what you want to do in your life (e.g. professional career). You can decide how fast or slow you want to work. And accordingly, you also decide if you want to achieve your goal as fast as possible or enjoy what’s happening around you while achieving that goal.
But these are rare moments, where you are in full control of your journey and life.
Driving — when you’re NOT in control
Most of the times, you will experience that you are at the mercy of other factors — the drivers in front of you, the drivers next to you in the nearby lanes, the weather conditions, etc. It is even more evident if it’s a single lane road. You can’t speed up even if you want to. You try hard, but after a while, you realize that there is no option other than being patient and just following the driver in front of you.
Then you start enjoying the slow pace while looking around. And sometimes you get used to the slow pace that you forget to pass the car in front of you and continue to just follow it.
But sometimes you still have it on your mind that slowing down was a not a permanent state but a temporary compromise. And as soon as you find a passing lane, you take that opportunity and overtake other drivers in front of you. As soon you get the lead, you are back in control to drive at your own speed — until you hit the next set of drivers in front of you.
Living life — when you’re NOT in control
This is exactly how our life is. It is dependent on many other external factors — your family responsibilities in front of you, the constraints of society you live in, the larger economic market conditions, etc. And sometimes you are at the complete mercy of any one of these factors. You have high ambitions and plans to move fast but can’t do it even if you want to. You try hard, but after a while, you realize that there is no option other than accepting the responsibility, situation, and constraints in front of you.
Then you start enjoying your life even with these constraints. And sometimes you forget your ambitions and get comfortable with the current life.
But sometimes you still have that dream kindling in your mind, and as soon as you get an opportunity, you seize it and make some progress towards your ambition. And now you are empowered to take in charge of your life, make your own decisions, decide your own speed of execution — until you hit the next set of responsibilities and constraints in front of you.
Driving — when you’ve a responsibility
Another interesting thing that happens when you’re driving — especially with your loved ones (family or friends) is — now you’re responsible to drive them safely.
They trust you and know that they are in safe hands and are free to enjoy the natural beauty around or take some power nap. And it’s very likely that you won’t be able to have the same fun as they can have. You can’t take your eyes off the road and look around for a long time. You can’t just close your eyes and take some power nap.
But when you look around and see that your loved ones are sleeping well, or having great fun, then you don’t feel anything less than proud and happy of your responsibility to drive them safely.
Living life — when you’ve a responsibility
This also happens in our life too. Sometimes you’re responsible to take care of your family — it could be anything — financial, health, or any kind of support, etc.
They trust you and know that you’ll take care of them. And with your support, they might be able to enjoy their life again. And it’s very likely that you may need to work hard or sacrifice few things to give them that support, and as a result, you may not be able to enjoy your life to the fullest.
But when you look around that your loved ones are having fun, you don’t feel anything less than happy of your responsibility to take care of them and supporting them in any way you can.
Hope you agree with these observations. The main take away from these observations could be—sometimes it’s ok to drive fast when opportunity exist, sometimes it’s ok to drive slow when needed to be, and you should feel proud and happy to support the responsibility at hand even though you personally can’t have fun.
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