Today was the longest driving day of our trip. It was also the first time I took the wheel on this vacation. For those who don’t know, in Australia the driver’s side is the right side and you drive on the left. It is about as backwards as it gets for those of us who’ve grown up driving in the US. In both Uber rides I meant to sit shotgun but inadvertently almost got behind the wheel and left both drivers very confused.
The first time we came here I still remember writing my blog post about driving on the wrong side of the road. Over three and a half years later I still remember how sore my shoulders and neck were from the stress of driving in a hyper state of focus and fear.
This go round was significantly more pleasant. I’ve had the opportunity to drive on “the other side” of the road a few times and this time it was even easier to get back into the feel of it. Within a few minutes my stress level was down and I was able to enjoy a peaceful drive up north.
Sensing this difference was a very positive and uplifting experience as it helped me see how much I’ve grown in the past three plus years. Sure, it’s no major accomplishment, but I appreciated the sense of growth I felt.
During the drive Becky and I fired up some Bruce Springsteen to help set the true road trip feel of the day. One of the tunes caused me to pause and rewind to over a decade ago.
Way back I was in a pretty awful funk and needed to get out of it. Becky suggested taking a road trip up to the UP of Michigan by myself so I did. During that time alone with myself, my thoughts, and the beauty of Lake Superior and the Upper Peninsula I came to grips with the fact that the gap between who I was and who I should be had grown wider than I’d ever dreamt. As I was struggling with resetting my brain during that time the song One Step Up popped into my mind and I got stuck on one specific line that hit too close to home:
When I look at myself I don’t see
The man I wanted to be
Somewhere along the line I slipped off track
Hearing those lyrics and singing them quietly to myself caused me to pause and dive deep for a moment. I was able to remember how lost I felt, how offtrack I seemed to be, and how I was drifting directionless. It was one of the low points in my life and I felt so depressed.
From that moment way back I made the decision to change my path. In that weekend I wrote out my first true dream list and a handful of small goals I had for myself. When I came back I made some tough decisions and started to get my act together. So many positive things have come from that proverbial “walk in the desert.”
After taking time today to think back to where I was I was so appreciative of the opportunity to quickly view how far I’ve come in that past decade and change. The gap to cross felt like miles, now it seems I’ve closed at least half of it. The toughest parts are sure to still be up ahead, but that’s okay and that’s not the focus today. Today I was able to pause and be thankful for the progress I’ve made and the growth I’ve had.
Two separate events, two wonderful ways to see growth firsthand. I am so thankful for those reminders of growth on my journey, they encourage me to to continue closing the gap.