WHAT'S THE RUSH?
Every summer for the past 18 years, I drive from Pennsylvania to Colorado where I have a summer home in the mountains. People are always asking me how long it takes me to get there. No one ever asks me what I do or see on the trip. Why is that?
The trip is normally about 2000 miles, depending on the route I take, and there are a lot of things to see and do along the way, so I usually allocate about 10 days to make the trip. I could make the drive in three days or less if I had to, but I prefer to see people I know and spend time with them.
I realize that, for most people, vacation time is limited, so driving somewhere reduces the amount of time available to spend at one's destination. Thus people fly to Vegas, or Florida, or some other distant destination in order to maximize their time at that location. I have friends who are into tours and fly all over the world. Their descriptions remind me of the 1969 movie, "If it's Tuesday, This must be Belgium." The mind set of most people today is to see as much as possible in a short period of time. In doing so, they miss much of life.
We, as a society, are destination oriented and have forgotten, or never learned, what Norman Rockwell so aptly portrayed in his 1947 painting "Going and Coming." It's not the destination that is the fun part of life. It's the going and coming. My favorite vacations have been those where I didn't have a destination. I just started out driving and playing it by ear. Life is not in our destinations, but occurs along the way.
Each driving trip I take, I buy or rent books on CD or books on tape to help me through the longer stretches of highway that can be rather boring. Kansas comes to mind, although I have friends and favorite spots there. What I have noticed is a definite trend towards abridged books rather than unabridged books. I've always tried to avoid what I call "portions" of books – preferring to read or listen to the complete book. Evidently the majority of people don't have time for this. In fact, the latest survey shows that only one in four people actually read a book in the last year. Life should be unabridged, and to enjoy it to the fullest, we need unabridged experiences along the way.
Eating is another good example of how people rush. I've noticed that I'm always the last one to finish eating. When I dine out with friends, which I do often, they are done with their meals and waiting for me to finish so they can order dessert. I eat less than most people, and I'm slow at it. But I savor every bite and stop eating when I'm comfortable. The amount of food remaining on my plate has no influence on how much I eat or when I stop.
While driving, I probably aggravate more people than most. I do it by driving the speed limit and enjoying the trip – regardless of whether I'm driving to Colorado or driving to work. Everyone seems to be in a big rush to get to somewhere, and in the process they are missing a lot of life and creating an unhealthy mental and physical situation for themselves. The desire to get in front of someone else, to be first, or to get somewhere fast, seems to dominate people's lives. I may arrive last, but I'm smiling because I made the most of my trip and enjoyed it. And shouldn't that be what life's trip is all about?