"Drivin' My Life Away..."

May 26, 2002

Welcome to Wyndspirit Dreams! Now that spring is here, Iím back to making 250-mile drives to visit my sisters. Sometimes I think I enjoy the drive almost as much as the visiting! My family cannot believe that I think driving Interstate is relaxing.

I have always enjoyed driving. When I had a 35-mile commute to work, that was my time. I used the time to psych myself up for a job I didnít particularly care for, and I used it to unwind after work before I had to face people and be sociable. Now I have a short hop to work, and I sometimes actually feel I get home too soon, that Iím still too stressed.

When I worked in plastics manufacturing, my hands were always busy, but my mind needed to keep occupied, so I did all my thinking, planning, and dreaming at work. Now I do computer-related troubleshooting at work, so work keeps my brain very thoroughly occupied, but I never have time to spend time thinking about what I want or need to think about. Thatís where driving is nice. I am locked completely away from anything else. Bills to pay? A "to do" list a mile long? Well, I canít do a thing about it while Iím driving!

As soon as I get into my car I can feel myself relaxing. I usually start out my drive with all the thinking and dreaming I never have time to do otherwise. Sometimes Iíll try to work out knotty plot problems with one of my stories. On one drive I came up with half a dozen ideas for future Wyndspirit Dreams essays. Sometimes Iíll make plans for fixing up my trailer or planting my garden. I may not put on music for an hour. My mind is too busy for the distraction. Then, eventually, I get sick of my own thoughts, so I put on the music. I may not be musical myself, but I am a serious music appreciator. However, I seldom have time to do nothing but sit and listen to a CD from start to finish, as much as I enjoy it. When I am anticipating a long drive, I may spend days planning what music I want to bring.

Itís even more enjoyable when I have a companion. Of course I love having my mom or one of my sisters with me. There is something about a long drive that is conducive to heart-to-hearts. Or we may just "hang out" and chitchat or listen to the music. When my youngest sister and I were in college and would come home together, she would sometimes read to me from case histories in her psych book or reference materials she was going through for a paper. One time we got so involved in our discussion that I sailed right past the exit to our home town. It added ten miles to the drive, but we never stopped talking!

And sometimes I donít talk or listen to music or even think. Sometimes I just drive, watching the world go by, just enjoying the feeling of being in control for one brief period. I know some people would promptly point out all the ways one is not in control when one is behind the wheel. To a certain extent, yes, I am at the mercy of my car, the road conditions, the other drivers. But I am the one behind the wheel. The car goes where I want it to go a lot more often than my life does. If the car does not go where I want it to go, more often than not, it is due to an error on my part. When it does go where I want it to go, I get to take the credit. That is very much unlike my life, which seldom goes where I want it to no matter what I do. I can be the best "driver" of my life and it still runs off the road constantly. My car and my life might both be mine to drive, controlled to an extent by the choices I make and by "road conditions" and other "drivers," but it has been my experience that the car is a lot more reliable than my life! I crave the confidence that comes from making decisions and getting the desired end result. And that is probably the biggest reason I love to drive.

Wyndspirit Dreams