This is an old piece I wrote that I’m sharing today because I don’t want to write a blog. Enjoy!
The straight, wide, road was never ending. Tall, bending trees arched across the road and as I drove under them, it was as if a bridge was forming above my head. It is a magical experience in autumn when the leaves are fiery reds and stunning yellows. Imagine driving through a tunnel of light.
I was driving. I do not remember where I was coming from, nor where I was going, nor if I was listening to anything. I remember that I was pondering things, as I so often do, about some aspect of my life—something that had long since evaporated from the present and taken its place on the never-ending shelf of my past. I recall that what I was thinking of was important, yet in retrospect the specifics escape me. I have a tendency to overthink nearly everything. For many years I hated this part of myself because I wanted to be free from the burdens of thought. I would often look at the people who seemed to do without thinking, to be without needing to exist in their minds. I was jealous for so long of the people who didn’t let their histories define their present potential. It was a condition of sorts.
But back to the story. I was driving and I was thinking. I was ruminating about my past and driving towards who knows where. The stage is set. Here goes. When I was winding through the tunnel of trees, I had a revelation, an epiphany of epic proportions. When I say epic proportions I simply mean that I finally had come to a definite answer in my meandering brain, which is rare. When it happens I can feel a change immediately.
Imagine that you’re driving a car: you can see out the windshield in front of you, it’s wide open and clear; you can see out the windows to either side, but to do so you must take your focus off what’s in front of you; and finally you can look in the mirrors, or rather glance in the mirrors to assess what’s behind you and use that information to move forward. Are you seeing a metaphor yet? Let me explain this in a different way. Every human has a defined past. Every human has a defined present. Where the trend seems to falter is when we move our perspective to the future, forwards. There is no defined future in sight, only the next stretch of road. This is the framework for the epiphany.
I suddenly realized that for as long as I could remember I had attached myself to the past in order to have somewhere to return to, something safe to hold on to. I had been traveling in smaller and larger circles always returning home. Sometimes I went thousands of miles away and many months before returning home and sometimes it was only mere minutes, but always I returned home. Here there is something important to explain. The concept of traveling in a circle may be lost on some people. What I am trying to say is that I subconsciously wanted to return to my past when I returned home and was not inspired by the endless potential of the future. The past trapped me.
When I realized this and saw the erroneousness of my deduction, it was as if the blinders on my life fell away, it was as if my arms flew backwards behind me and my heart exploded with light. Suddenly, the whole world felt wide open and the future felt totally clear and malleable. I metaphoricalized this story in that moment when I ceased to look in the mirror and I started to look out the windshield. Life was no longer about going back home and circling back. It was about moving forwards; zigzagging my way along in life and occasionally revisiting the physical locations that I had been in in my past. I no longer yearned to be back where I once was and I no longer felt bad about going home. I was immediately free to create the life that I wanted and I felt empowered to do so.
In the tunnel of light, a small shift of gear drove a change in me that will last forever. Move forward, blinders off, always down the never-ending road of life.