Monday, May 31, 2010

Life Without Cruise Control

"Destiny is no matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
-William Jennings Bryant

I used to be a "grandpa driver." At least that's what my friends told me as I was shuttling them around. I don't think it was that bad, most of the time. I have never been one to speed excessively or drive recklessly, but I recently began a new job that requires a daily commute from Provo to Murray during the morning traffic. After doing that everyday for a few weeks, I think I have shed the title of "grandpa" and now I am just a "commuter." I think that switch generally requires an average increase of 10 m.p.h. and 53% more lane changes. Also, a commuter is envious of those that are able to utilize the carpool lane, although a commuter is too cheap to buy a "commuter pass." (to be able to use the carpool lane with only the driver in the car) I also love my car. I chose what I wanted, but I was unaware when we bought it, that it did NOT have cruise control. I repeat, the car does not go without my foot on the gas peddle. Long commute? Depends on traffic. Minor detail, right? Even though, it seems like something small, I am going to blame all of my problems on these facts from now on.

With it being the holiday weekend and all, my little bro and his friends went to St. George to celebrate his birthday and have a good time. Of course, my roommate and I tagged along with the 12 teenagers and my family. We had to leave later than the rest of them though, so I had to take my own car. I have made this trip once before with my spacious (but little) Honda Fit (that doesn't have cruise control) so I knew what kind of adjustments I would need to make during the ride so that my bum bum wasn't sore the entire way. I've thought a lot about how to fix this problem. While I'm driving and my right cheek is killing me (sorry to be so graphic...) I just try to find a solution that will keep the car going. This trip, I learned how to use my left leg for just a little while before it wussed out as well.

Cruise control.... cruise control... cruise control... two words that go through my head a lot, I think. St. George was wonderful! It was warm and sunny and the pool felt great. On Saturday, my roommate and I decided to go hiking. We were going to go hike up in Snow Canyon. Since I am on vacation, I should drive in a leisurely manner, right? Wrong. Once a commuter, always a commuter. Don't forget that. That is, until you get pulled over. In over 6 years of driving, I never once got pulled over! I think that's pretty good. Mom, I know it took you like 29 years, congrats. Why could I not have been a grandpa driver that day? Oh yeah, let's blame cruise control. If I had set my cruise control, would I have been going 38 in a 25 zone? No. I know what you're thinking, "who sets their cruise control at 25....?" Ok, we all know that I wouldn't have set it, but I need something to blame, remember? Cruise control/commuter (those are my 'issues'). Apparently, my "innocent act" worked to my advantage. I only got written up for 30 mph instead of 38. whew! Is it bad that I'm relieved to get that first ticket experience over with?

In all the thoughts I had this weekend about cruise control, I had many interesting ideas on how to make this work in my car. It was then that I had a bigger epiphany... what would it be like if we had cruise control for life?! We could just set it at the desired speed and daunt through existence while occasionally steering in a new direction. How many of us have tried this? Um, me. I will be the first to admit that. I think it seems easier at times to just coast through the necessities and hope that we can get by. In a way, this is kind of a run-on from last week's lesson from New York. Who controls what I do? Me. Who controls who I am? Me. Who controls my attitude, my actions, my thoughts.... my life? I do. We don't get the option to set a 'cruise control' to help us slide through the difficult travels that we'll make. We control our pace. At times, our speed limit (so to speak) is going to be much different that what we want. We can't always go 38 in a 25. At the same time, it's totally impractical to go 25 on the highway! We learn from those mistakes. We govern the journey that leads to our destination.

Cruise control through life? Forget it! I am going to drive myself to meet my goals. I hope it's a long trip, but you just never know. I picture different friends and family with me along the way. There will be good conversation, lots of great 'road trip' music, and maybe some funny games. Heck, I'll also tell you that my right cheek will be a lot more toned than that left one. It will be a little sore, but at least I'm setting my own pace. Right?

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