Driving has surely been used as metaphor for life before, and it’s a good one. Life is like a good drive; you see all the side streets and opportunities in front of you and you have a constant reminder of where you have been and come from with your glimpse into the rearview mirror. You are in control of the wheel, making the choices on where you want to go and how best to get there.
But have you have you ever slipped into autopilot? Driving home late from work when you are tired and burned out? And suddenly you are home and you can’t really recall the whole drive home because you zoned out and then went through the motions automatically? Or maybe you missed a turn because you were so spaced out, or went to the wrong destination based on habit. That’s not good driving; you are unfocused and drifting. You aren’t being cautious and you aren’t prepared for accidents.
The same thing happens in your own life, too! You hit boring daily routine; you get exhausted, burned out, sick of working, etc. But you are no longer consciously directing your drive i.e. your life. Are there days when you feel like last week just meshed into the new week; that there was no real division between days and that they all feel like one long workday? that’s the same as driving on autopilot. You are just letting your life flash by without absorbing it, directing it.
Are you even going where you really want to go, or are you going there because you got stuck in the comfortable routine, and now you are driving badly out of habit (meaning you aren’t focusing on the road, which leaves you more likely to get into an accident, to get hurt, or to completely get lost). Remember, speaking metaphorically, this means you are getting totally off track to where you wanted to go in life.
Your goal: Don’t be a bad driver. Wake up! Focus! Where are you going and why? Turn off autopilot and think about your destination. What is the best way to get there? Are you on the right road? Maybe you need to make a turn soon, or a u-turn for that matter. Charting your own course with conscious action is extremely important to getting you where you want to go and getting you there the way you want to with less chance of a head on.
Follow the general rules of driving: pay attention, be cautious but confident, figure out the way, etc. But most importantly–get where you are going.
Happy driving to you!
Images taken in Rome, Italy in 2011. Images courtesy of a friend’s camera, though we can’t recall exactly who took the photo, me or her!