Are We There Yet ?
Who hasn’t had this experience? Either from a parent point of view or from a kid point of view.
Here’s how it often works.
You and your family decide you are going to go for a trip in the car. Maybe a long trip that is going to take a few days or maybe even just to the ice cream shop that is a few miles away. Let’s say you are all going to take a trip to an amusement park in another state. Six Flags maybe, the one in Valencia, California and you live in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Now if you look on the map, you can see that California and New Mexico are separated only by the state of Arizona. Hmm, you think, that’s not too bad; they are almost right next to each other. Even better, they are basically on the same highway, interstate 10. Or as folks in California like to say “The 10.”
Arizona - Right In The Middle
Sounds Like An Easy Trip
So your trip is going to consist pretty much of:
- Getting onto I-10 in Las Cruces and then getting off in Los Angeles
- Heading north a few miles on a couple of other freeways
Easy as pie. Probably won’t even have to turn on the GPS to do any navigating until you get to LA.
Very, Very Cool
Cool. Tickets get bought online so you don’t have to stand in line at the front gate at Magic Mountain. Hotel accommodations also from a website (thank you Al Gore for creating the internet for us), the car gets washed, gassed up and filled to the brim with suitcases, DVDs, mobile devices, snacks, and last of all your family.
Everybody manages to squeeze in around the various stacks of magazines, drink containers, and bags of Cheetohs and you’re off.
Down the driveway, heading for the freeway on ramp, and then its pedal to the metal time, baby and you’re off on the open road headed for fun and adventure in the land of endless sunshine, Californ-I-A. Nothing can hold you back now, you’re ride is going to be as smooth as the filling in one of those French silk chocolate pies you love so much.
Your dream of a fabulous road trip is materializing itself mile by mile with the wind in your hair (so to speak) and nothing between you and endless rides on the roller coasters except a few scenic miles of desert highway. Perfectissimo.
A Few Scenic Miles Of Desert Highway
Until you get to the border of Arizona
Then you hear the first iteration of that timeless road trip refrain that you knew in your heart of hearts was going to be filling your car’s interior. After all it rally is only a matter of time before somebody starts it off and then everybody in the car is echoing that most feared of phrases
Are We There Yet ?
The first dozen or so times you hear it, you just kind of answer politely, No, we have a bit farther to go, how about a snack or a new game on your ipad?
But then sooner or later, and usually sooner, your polite tone of voice turns into a snarky whine, and then anger and then finally sullen silence as you realize that even though New Mexico and California are separated by only one state – Arizona; that not only is Arizona a pretty wide state, but that you also have to travel all the way across California to reach Valencia which is right on the coast. And you started your trip from the middle of New Mexico.
Will It Never End ??!!??
This is when you start wishing for rocket boosters and you start telling yourself that the cops don’t pay that much attention to cars traveling over 100 MPH because the desert is just so big and they know everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere else. You might even still be thinking that as the trooper is giving you your speeding ticket. Just don’t say it out loud.
And what started off as a great adventure has turned into a long, sour and agonizing ordeal, even though you really wanted to go on this adventure when you started planning. The trip of a lifetime, you told yourself, and now you are wishing this part was over and done with already.
The Honest Truth
Truth is, though, it was a great idea to go on an adventure, and even if it seems a bit rough right at the moment, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great idea. But it is possible that bit of shifting might be in order so that your days and nights on the road are not filled with monotone of constant tire hum and endless drones of
Are We There Yet ?
And the best way to feel better (the only way, actually) is by a change in thinking.
Pretty much the way every single thing in your life gets changed. You start with a thought. Maybe you start with something like this.
“I just wish I could be done with all this ickiness. I am so tired of listening to all the whining and kvetching in the car, I could just scream. Oh wait a minute, I already did that, and they are still asking me if we’re there yet”
Well, maybe not the greatest of thoughts to get yourself started on a change, but this is where you are. After a couple of moments of wallowing in your self pity, maybe you could try a different thought.
“Ok, so I guess I could have measured the miles across Arizona or gotten online and found the entire length of the trip out before I started. Well, you know I could probably do that now, with at little bit of GPS magic.”
That thought’s a little bit better. Maybe you could even have another thought after that, something like
“Oh, that’s not so bad; we are already more than halfway there. That’s actually pretty good, and you know its getting bit cooler now and I know we can’t get all the way there in one day, so its probably just about time to stop for a bite to eat and stretch our legs a little bit.”
And after a dinner break and a bit of moving around and a little rest for driving, your thoughts can mold themselves into a form that is actually kind of pleasant.
“Self, here’s the deal. You know you started out on this trip intending to have a good time. But there is not any reason why you have to wait to have a good time until you get to your destination. Since you are here right now, there isn’t any reason why you can’t enjoy your time right in this very moment.”
Now that’s more like it. A lot more pleasant type of thought to be thinking. And when you allow yourself to relax and enjoy your moment right now, your day goes a lot better. And that feeling of relaxation and rest then allows you to think an even better thought.
“This ride in the car is just one part of the journey. There’s still the fun of the theme park to be enjoyed and then the ride home and after that, well, who knows maybe we could make this an annual event or maybe next time we could go somewhere different or maybe we could think of some other kind of adventure to have. But no matter what we decide to do, it is our trip to enjoy each and very moment of it, if we choose to.”
“And the truth is, the goal of a journey is to enjoy the journey, the destination is just one single part of the whole trip. And there’s not really any reason why I can’t enjoy every step of my journey. Its my journey, and if I want to love every minute of it, why not. I so deserve to treat myself well.”
Have a nice trip today.