Time to think

“Well, life’s like a road that you travel on
There’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind…”

These are lyrics that most of you will recognize. While Rascal Flatts is one of my favorite bands, never have their lyrics really hit me until just recently.

As I packed the final things in my car to prepare to come home Friday, I found myself constantly explaining why I prefer to drive 10 hours across Western Kansas at night to my friends at school. It’s simple. Western Kansas is plain and boring, and when you can’t see anything, but the lights of the upcoming town or farm ahead, somehow it makes it feel like the drive goes faster. So, as I embarked on my journey home, I put my Rascal Flatts CD’s into the changer, and realized the meaning of the song for me.

Perhaps I got caught up in a little cabin (or should I say SUV) fever, but hear me out.

When you drive across western Kansas or eastern Colorado in the daylight, all you see is wheat fields, some cows, and an occasional farm among the small towns that dot I-70. This for me is a lot like my time from 8th grade on in Colorado. I knew there was a future out there for me. I knew something along the road was going to come up, maybe something unexpected, but I had not a clue as to when, were it not for my parents (or the road signs) to tell me how far I had to go. While the next big town might only be 70 miles away, there’s still about 100 turns, which will make it feel like 200 miles. After all, how many times can you look at a field of cows before you get bored of seeing the same old thing?

But, at night, it’s a lot like the last four years have been for me. My future is getting closer. And while I can’t see what lies on the road ahead for me, I can see miles into the horizon because the light of next town, my next big adventure, be it graduation, or my marriage, lights the way. I can see it getting closer sooner, and that is very encouraging.

I’m sure everyone has a memory of some car trip where you pass a car, or caravan, or something that you never thought you’d see. This trip the unexpected for me was seeing some NASCAR driver tote his car across Kansas. (At least I am assuming it was the driver and his car was in the oversized trailer marked with sponsorships, a car number, and the NASCAR logo. The funny thing about it though, is that he was driving as if he was still on the track. He had a problem not drifting on the road, and went more than a few miles over the speed limit. And I thought to myself, why are you in such a hurry? There’s nothing in front of you, nothing behind you, just wide open Kansas. It’s 10pm. If you’re late for a race, cut your losses and wait for the next one.

Too many times I think we try and rush through things. We skim through text books because a professor assigned 40 pages in one night, but instead of really learning what’s on the first 10 pages, we sacrifice being able to remember anything from it just so we can catch a TV show, go to Wednesday Margarita nights at the lodge, or run to cold stone for an ice cream fix. And while we enjoy the memories we make on the side, sometimes I feel it would be better to store the useless information that was on those 10 pages because you never know when you’ll find yourself needing to know the complete inner workings of the ear.

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