I am not a good driver. I grew up in a teeny, tiny town with two stoplights and several naked crossroads (intersections with no stop signs.) Whoever arrives first at the intersection has the right of way. Can you imaging that in New Jersey? I think there would be more fist fights than car accidents, but I’m not quite sure.
Upon high school graduation I moved to a place called Provo, UT where most of my travel consisted of hiking a huge amount of stairs from off-campus housing to the arts facilities on top of the hill. From there I ventured to Osaka, Japan where I rode a bike, took a ferry and coasted from here to there on a mixture of trains. What next? A brief stint back in my home town and a stay in Minneapolis, which afforded me a wee bit of driving experience. But quick ‘like a bunny,’ off I flew to the Big Apple with high hopes, no financial obligations, and a blissful relationship with my subway map.
Six years later, I moved to New Jersey where I spent less money on rent and had windows (oh my goodness, the luxury!) and rooms (did you notice the plural?!) But aside from the space, I had to start driving again. Not only did I have to start driving, but I had to start driving in a state where your car insurance costs more than most property tax in 87.66% of the United States. That statistic is totally bogus, by the way. It’s meant for affect not for informative purposes. It just means that accidents happen. A lot. Knock on wood (or something solid at least) – I have never been in a car accident. I’ve only just barely missed them.
If life is a journey, then we’re all driving whether in actual reality or not. We are in the hot seat, the pilot’s chair of our own lives. “Excuse me, Captain Makenzie of “Makie’s World” coming up on your left!” (No relation to “Wayne’s World” the ridiculous cult hit of the early nineties featuring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey – however much you might like or loathe that film.) Listen, I’ve hit a couple of pot holes on this journey. Actually, I fell down a few and ended up in a place very similar to Alice’s Wonderland. But to be honest, I did a lot of growing down there. Probably as much growing as I do when I’m soaring high above the clouds with an amazing view and wonderful perspective. Or is it that I grew from those pot hole experiences while I had the perspective? I’m not quite sure. Life is a mystery and an adventure. There are things we can’t control – like the weather or traffic jams and detours that cause heart ache and pain. But on the other hand there’s this thing called ‘hover craft mode’, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it? Instead of staying stuck, broken down and fuming, you can actually just flip this switch (into hover craft mode) and rise above the chaos. Novel, huh?
Leave it to me to get all metaphorical but it’s the start of a new year. Not just ‘two thousand and ten’ but I also had a birthday recently which, for most of us is probably a more serious time of contemplation than those hours between December 31 and January 1 that inevitably cause our checkbooks to move from one yearly decimal to the next.
When I turned 24 I freaked out. “What am I doing with my life?” I wondered. “What have I accomplished to this point?” “Makenzie, you’ve got to buckle down and get serious!” Oh my. 25, I don’t remember. 26 was my golden birthday and my family threw me an awesome surprise party, it was a good year. 27 was probably just fine, and this year is, well – chaotic. Half of my brain is on over-drive and the other half is having a party – I think. It’s doing something because it feels like there’s a lot of jumping up and down and bouncing off the walls in there. And when the little gremlins in my brain sit down and take five – I want to take a nap.
One of those little gremlins is screaming, “Baby, baby, baby!” The other is laughing hysterically in the corner while counting my debt. There’s one who’s hiding all my post-it notes so I can’t get anything done. Another is doing pirouettes in the center of it all, dreaming of creation and gigs and painting and travel. And there’s yet another kicking the side of my brain saying, “Let me out! I’ve got to get out!”
Like I said, the other half of my brain is on over-drive. I’ve got my life plans all planned so nothing is planned at all. My to-do’s are all scheduled, my desires written down. And every night I let my head fall to the pillow without, yet again, accomplishing one of those things that’s been on that list for days or weeks or longer – I wake up the next morning with it sitting on my pillow, staring me in the face.
“Make it stop!!!”
Wheew. Take a breath, take a chill pill, take time (read your last blog post Makie if you have to!) Isn’t it amazing that one day or one week or month, you can have it all together, be in the rhythm of your life, totally in harmony and then, BAM – you’re freaking out?!
Someone recently said that you can’t sit still, you’re either moving forward or backward on the river of life. Being a forward thinking person is good, it’s great. It’s much better than mulling over the past. But what’s happening here and now? Be aware, be silent, be still. It’s OK to just be. Flip on that hover craft switch and trust, and know. Get a little perspective. It’s OK.
I write because I find it easier than speaking my thoughts. I paint when I can’t find the words. I sing because someone found the words and put them to music. I dance because the music moves me. I laugh because its better than tears. I cry when I feel alive. I am still so I can listen. I rise up so I can see.
God created you and loves you, loves me, and we are all here together, the same, right here and right now.
Happy ‘two thousand and ten.’
May we all travel together peacefully on this journey, maybe play a little ‘bumper cars’, and may we all remember the hovercraft switch for those times when we need to rise up, get a little insight and a little perspective.
(photo credit: Cathryn Lynne Photography)