Life Is A Highway (Part 1)

That, of course, is the title of a Rascal Flatt’s song. My favorite life/highway/song analogy is actually too long for a blog title, but it is my life’s theme song. The Eagle’s “Take It To The Limit”. The chorus reads..

“So put me on a highway and show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time….”

That just speaks to me about determination and courage and going full speed in the direction of your dreams. That actually is not the theme for today’s blog (but maybe soon). Today, however, I do want to talk about signs; road signs specifically.  Travel down any highway and you will see a variety of signs. Warning Signs. Direction Signs. Instructional Signs.  If we pay attention, they will help us avoid trouble on the road. If we ignore them, we are setting ourselves up for disaster.  We can also learn some lessons from these road signs to navigate down life’s highway. So let’s go!

A U-Turn is made when we no longer wish to proceed forward but believe we should go back to where we were. That’s ok if you took a wrong exit. But SO not ok if fear is driving you. We have to decide to stop dwelling in the past. And if you haven’t come to that conclusion yet, do it right now. It doesn’t matter if your past was great or horrible, you do not live there anymore. It is scary to drive down a road we’ve never been before. It can feel like we are lost. It is tempting to want to return what it is familiar. Even if the familiar wasn’t all that good. But there is no turning back. We can be grateful for the good times and learn from the bad, but we have to keep moving forward and ahead. That is where your future and your dreams are. 

Ignoring this sign will set you up on a collision course. What are some of the thoughts you need to stop today? Negativity that creeps in and whispers in your ear? Nonsense that drags you down and chokes out your happiness? It is time to hit the brakes. Slam down the insecurities. Erect a mental road block to self-hate. Why do we crave to hear we are beautiful, smart, talented and capable and then when we do, we still doubt it? We become skeptical and dubious of the very traits we do in fact embody. I don’t know if it is a learned response or generational. We are much more likely to believe the foolishness we tell ourselves than the truth we hear from others. We truly must heed this sign and just STOP. This one can be difficult. The tape recorder (or maybe nowadays, iPod) in our heads is set on repeat. But even the iPod has a stop button. My wish is for everyone reading this to believe in their worth, their radiance and their undeniable presence in this world.   

Oh you’ve been there. So have I. And most likely that sign was right there and we drove right by it. Whether it was a financial decision or a bad relationship, we knew we were heading straight for disaster and yet continued full speed ahead. Then we have the nerve to ask ‘why me’? I heard a radio advice host give this analogy. A woman was asking why she always attracted the wrong guy; whether it was a cheater, a drinker, an abuser. The radio host very candidly explained the woman wasn’t attracting the wrong guys, she was choosing the wrong guys. The difference is the verb. One is passive/victim. The other is decisive/intentional. Do you get that? That is a powerful concept. Most of the people in our lives are there by our invitation. Be careful who you send an invite to. If you see the Wrong Way sign, and you go anyway, a crash is soon to follow. Heed the warning. Don’t go down that road.

I am about 50/50 on this one. I couldn’t decide if this was a negative or a positive. Depending on the circumstance, it can be both. If we have a set path and are cruising along with a plan, a detour can cause delays. It can even make us miss our intended exit. We should never hijack our progress by chasing a rabbit trail down to a dead end. Unfortunately, sometimes detours come out of nowhere and we have no choice. During those times, we have to remain patient and focused on when we can return to our journey.  However, it is also true that we can get in a rut and speed through life without stopping to enjoy it. That is tragic. So occasionally, a little side trip or break from the fast pace can be refreshing and invigorating. To see or experience a different landscape to get a new perspective.  Getting lost on a back road to unwind and relax. Those types of detours are highly recommended.

Life truly is like a highway. We have a starting point and a destination. We can be reckless and take off without a map or supplies and ignore the signs around us. That might seem like fun at first, and it surely can create some adventures. But it rarely leads to your goal and often times ends in a blowout. At some point along the way, we must all chart our course. We need guidance and tools and mostly we need to trust our instincts, our heart and obey the signs put out along the way.

So the next time you are driving and see one of these signs, take a minute to reflect on where you are in your life’s journey. How can you apply that road sign to make your soul travels smoother?

Next week, we will look at more traffic signs. The ones that can make your relationships easier to navigate. Until then…..

Hope Out