Life is like a road trip. When we are preparing for a road trip, we usually follow some type of checklist that helps ensure a smooth journey. We look at the map to determine the best route, plan for some rest and refueling stops, pack plenty of snacks, and make sure that our car has a safety check-up before hitting the road.
Each year, we personally begin a new road trip. We have a destination in mind, and we begin preparing for it. Preparing for it-and yet knowing that there are bound to be many detours along the way. We never know when there will be construction delays, detours due to emergency situations, or heavy traffic. Maybe your road will be flat, maybe there will be big hills or just smaller ones putting a bump in the way, you will never know until you get there and overcome it. All the while, you may be asking yourself, “Are we there yet?” Sounds a lot like life LIFE, doesn’t it? I believe that some of my best road trips have been those that provided the opportunity for meaningful experiences along the way. Sometimes, I had to take an entirely different route that allowed me to see a lot of beautiful things I would have otherwise missed. Instead of a highway journey zooming past cities and open spaces, I have taken country roads that allowed me to see beautiful apple orchards, large farms with beautiful horses, and tons of wildflowers. While we tend to look at each of our years as only being either good or bad, we often forget the road trip and the journey, and all that we were able to see and learn along the way.
If you have ever attended our Stress Less on Purpose workshop, you have seen the slinky. A slinky reminds us that we are adaptable and resilient- we may get stretched outside of our comfort zones, but if we are prepared, we can bounce back-because we know that our road trip is not always going to be a plateau. We will always have bumps and hurdles, twists and turns, and detours. We will have to re-assess our map and travel plans, look at all our options and possibilities-take stock of what is ahead of us, and then take charge in action on what to do next. Do we stay on the journey we had planned, or do we “adjust the sails” and change our course? Sometimes we embark on an entirely new route, and others we simply change our perspective to enjoy a little longer ride, and the stops and landmarks along the way.
We are also reminded that there is safety in numbers, and that road trips are better knowing that you have someone riding along with you. Knowing that if needed, you can stop and relax along the way, or that you have someone who can help you with that flat tire. We know we are going to have to stop and refill our tanks in order to keep going- and that is also the road trip of life.
As you begin to prepare your 2023 road trip, think of all the new things you can see and experience as you map out your destination. Keep joining our ALS events, groups, and workshops, and if you have not joined us, these are your rest areas, your gas stations, and the places you can ask for help along the way. We hope to see you on the road!
-Tonya Hitschmann- Managing Director, Care Services