Life on Autopilot: Glad I’m not one of those idiots!
Happiness is being on the “right” side of the interstate as you zoom past the 5 mile traffic jam on the opposite side. Do you gloat? “Ha Ha, glad I’m not one of those idiots over there going the wrong way!” Or do you have empathy? “Those poor people, I feel so sorry for them, I feel their pain. I wonder if they’ll think it’s worth it when they find out it’s only a Hooter’s girl changing a tire?”
I’m an I-12 guy. Seems like everywhere I ever need to go begins on Interstate 12, vacation to the beach, visiting my family in Atlanta, weekend concert at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi. When my car feels the thump of the closing door, it just drives me I-12 East on autopilot, I don’t even have to steer.
Hey, let’s take a little getaway to Memphis. Great Idea. Happily blazing along the Interstate near Hammond, I glance across the meadow and wonder what could be causing that traffic jam? Any orange hot pants? I glance down at the odometer and begin incredulously calling out mile by mile the never-ending length of the double-laned parking lot. “Those poor people, it’s backed up 7 miles, that’s going to take hours to get through.”
Once the show is over, my mind drifts back to other things. 20 minutes later I start to muse about my destination, Memphis…so how do you actually get to Memphis? Oh S—, Memphis is not this way, it’s North. This damn car is taking me the wrong way. I need to go I-55. BACK IN HAMMOND! Oh no, not only did I miss my turn a half hour back, but I’ll be…AT THE VERY BACK OF THAT LINE! (this is why you don’t gloat)
How could I be so stupid? I never once thought about my destination or mentally mapped out how to get there, or even flipped on the GPS, any of which would have saved me. It’s the damn car’s fault, autopilot, but wait a sec, who punched in the destination? No one, it was just mindless habit. If I had just taken one moment to think about where I was going.
Life can be the same way. We just jump in each morning, slam the door, and let habit take us down the same lane every day. No thinking about our destination. No thinking on the best way to get there. No question if we’re taking the right vehicle.
So where have I been the last few months? What happened to these regular email posts?
I pulled off the road for while to make sure I was heading in the right direction. Every few years I quit everything, everything I’m involved in; attending meetings of clubs and organizations, writing my blog, doing weekly coaching calls, speaking engagements, frantically pursuing lists of goals in the busy busy world that extorts more and more from us with a gun of competitiveness and a promise of prosperity.
I Enjoy the quiet.
I Let my mind settle down. It creates it’s own vacuum.
Then I ask, “What do I miss?”
Now that all of the busyness is gone, which things do I miss? Which things are calling me back? Which things do I not miss at all? What are the things that I enjoy doing? Where do I really want to go? Why? What’s the best way to get there? Am I on the right road? Is there an alternate route?
Taking the car out of idle, back into gear, slightly humbled but fairly confident, I slowly pull back onto the road toward my destination, even if it takes a little backtracking.