Things I Learn about Myself after Extended Hours of Driving Alone

By: Linden Figgie

With a four-and-a-half hour drive to my family in Wisconsin, a minimal change in scenery (except when I get to the Mississippi River), and severe lack of decent radio, I seem to learn a lot. Not that any of it sticks, but here’s just a bit of insight when I hit the road:

  1. I get emotional listening to Taylor Swift. After hearing the lyrics to “I Knew You Were Trouble” about fifteen times, I can’t help but begin to feel sorry for myself, that I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I’m quite uncertain as to anything I’ve done right (including NOT becoming a pop country star). Maybe deep down inside, I find her exaggerated lyrics and whiny voice inspiring and catchy as I belt them out. (Yes, I actually do.) There’s inhibition for ya.
  2. I learn helpful interview tips from John Tesh. Such as, be prepared for unique questions from employers. Like, if you could have one superpower, what would it be? Or if you were the size of a pencil tip, how would you get out from the inside of a blender? [This one took me a while to think about….] Naturally, I over thought about them and worried that my answers were either too cliché [flying!], too childish [Turn everything I touch into chocolate!] or just too weird. [Invisibility…. Can I be any more introverted?] Point being: Be ready for anything.
  3. I’m proud to be a Washingtonian. Anytime I pass a Midwest license plate, I always wonder what they think when they see a black Subaru from Washington. I know. I’m far from home. How did I end up in the Midwest, you may ask? Well you see, it’s a long story…. And so my pride progresses. I love trees and green and misty rain, and I’m glad I still have the evidence to show it!
  4. I’m an adventure junky. I secretly hope to get caught amidst a car chase, have to save the policeman after his cop car breaks down and race to catch the criminal. Speed anyone?!
  5. I get overly confident. I’ll begin to plan out important conversations or creative writing projects, get up the courage to say or remember whatever brilliant idea I had… and then I step out of the car, and it’s all over. Back to self-consciousness and lack of confidence.
  6. I am ridiculously competitive. If I pass a car, I hate having to get off the interstate knowing the same car will end up being ahead of me. I did all that work. It’s a waste. I’m investing in a hybrid. [I’d like to think my competitive nature is helping the environment…. It’s probably a stretch.]
  7. I get anxious about my future. Maybe it’s the symbolism of the winding road, or [more likely] the solitude and time to reflect on where I’m currently at, where I’m headed and where I want to be, and most importantly, where God is leading me. I’ll admit, I tear up. I sometimes hyperventilate. I wonder if I’ll steer off the road or if the semi will knock me over. It always happens. And I always end up back where I came from, back to the same work load, same routine, and I somehow manage to make it through the next day.

Perhaps what it all really shows though is how important solitude and reflection is. Sadly, I don’t do enough of it. (Hence I need to drive four hours, locked in a vehicle to actually take the time to do it.) But it’s true. Jesus went to the wilderness, away from noise and distractions and chaos. It’s important that we take time to process and reflect on ourselves, our lives, our dreams and our goals. Or maybe it’s the only time we get true silence and away from our ever-mulling thoughts. We may not have a desert close by, but many of us have cars (or friends with cars) and the rural highways are in plenty. Drive on!

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2 thoughts on “Things I Learn about Myself after Extended Hours of Driving Alone

  1. Love that you can laugh in the midst of reflective angst. It’s a good sign… I write speeches to motorcyclists without helmets – great blaring ones that I would never say aloud. And…I agree – reflection is useful. May yours lead you to the next antique, God-stained, ready for new-purpose door.

  2. menonitefury says:

    I always find the most about myself when driving home for a short weekend visit of my family. It reminds me that sometimes silence and pondering are the best ways to communicate with our heavenly Father. Many people feel prayer is the best way to go about communicating with Him, but I find silence makes for better understanding when I’m not asking or seeking for something; just basking in his presence.

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