I recently finished up two road trips, totaling more than 11,000 miles. The first took place in the month of April and I traveled through pretty much every state south of Delaware, to include Florida and Texas (which aren't southern states, if you ask anyone who is from either of them lol). The second was a cross-country trip that encompassed every state along the I76, I70, I80 route between Delaware and northern California.
I did learn a few things: passenger vehicle drivers are, mostly, idiots when it comes to driving around big rigs (tractor-trailers, for you eastern folks). They seem to think that they can cut in front of an 18-wheeler and hit the brakes like it's no big deal. They also don't realize that it really isn't safe to drive with only one car length between them and the trailer when that truck is trying to pass another truck. Do they think that being closer make the truck drive faster? Their sheer presence will "push" the truck faster?
I also learned that truckers, nowadays, are asshats. I was taught the art of headlight communication at a very young age, having ridden passenger on long roadtrips with my mother, my father, and/or my grandfather. They taught me well. Unfortunately, it's, apparently, a lost art now. In all my travels, these past two months, my headlight communication was acknowledged fewer than five times. In 11,000 miles. Do you know how many trucks I drove near in that time? Thousands. And fewer than five acknowledged my "Hey, it's safe to move in front of my vehicle in order to move out of the way of that douchebag who's climbing up your ass." So rude.
My biggest "lesson" though wasn't really a lesson so much as a realization. For 20 years, I've had to worry about fitting a specific mold: Must be this physically fit, must not have a waist larger than X, must conform to this dresscode. For the first time in 20 years, I didn't have to fit that mold. My first act of rebellion: I dyed my hair purple. Bright, vibrant purple. It has since faded to a deep plum but it was beautiful that first week. I haven't worked out in months and I relaxed like crazy on what I ate. As a result, there is more of me to love but, you know what: I don't have to fit into that mold any more. I don't have to worry that I will lose a career because my waist is 41" and won't be down to the required 35.5" within a month or so. The irony: I will probably lose it faster because I'm not stressing losing it. I can do whatever sort of physical fitness that I want. I don't have to run, do pushups, or situps--required elements of the AF PT test. I can swim. I can walk. I can ride a bicycle. Hell, I can just do yoga for the rest of my life, if that's what I want to do.
My time is my time. And I can live it deliberately, making choices to do things that I want to do. What are some things that I want to focus on? Strengthening my faith, helping out a friend in her bookstore, and getting more involved with the local chapter of Team Red, White, & Blue. There will also be some physical activity and eating well in my future but I don't make any specific declarations because I tend to not stick to those declarations when they're made. I'm just going to do my best to find contentment in my life and help others do the same.
Me, rocking my TeamRWB t-shirt.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo