I am here to report one of those rare yet exceptional moments that is the sole desire of writers everywhere. A topic, something elusive to chronic suffers of writers block, has chosen me.
There really is no better way to put it. *Pauses* *Ponders* Nope, I’m quite sure that’s the absolute best I can do. As I sit and pen this next addition to my “The Road” series, it is currently the 29th of September and I am freshly planted in my dorm room after a four hour drive of philosophizing and advice-laden chats with my one-of-a-kind dad. The smells and dog fur of home still linger on my Mom’s “borrowed” jacket.
And so, without further ado, I introduce you to the next topic on my journey. What is more central to any metaphorical or literal road-trip than a pit-stop, eh? Having frequented a road-side oasis or two many times on my travels to and from far off relatives, I can vouch for their wonderfulness. Exuberantly. Whether you’re a toddler with a huge aversion to the empty kitty litter container your parents brought along for a port-a-potty or you’re a parent who needs an earful of NOTHINGNESS after driving with aforementioned toddler in the backseat, I’m sure you know the story.
Imagine the scene. Blinker still clicking on and off with reassuring beeps saying “Keep… Going… Keep… Going” as you tug the wheel to the right, your car sidles over to an unclaimed spot and keys off with a shudder that speaks to the dozens of miles under its axles. Car doors pop open like a beetle airing the undersides of its shell as little feet hit in the ground in hastily applied footwear, dashing for the little girl’s room and eyeing the vending machine on the way there. An adult forehead rests on the steering wheel, with nothing but a grateful sigh left to float its way across the dashboard…
You, my friend, are at a rest stop.
And you know the very best thing about rest stops? They are not complicated. Seriously, when’s the last time you had to whip out a compass and a topographical map to find the picnic area or locate the optimal place for your pooch to do his little doggy business? No matter the state, the highway, the journey, the rest area tends to be familiar and strangely homey.
I guess all of my ramblings thus far have lead me to this solid point: Take the time to STOP. Having journeyed home after a crazy month of obtaining a new job, keeping up with coursework, learning the basics to a new language, coaching and recruiting for a women’s Ultimate team yaddiyaddiyadda… I have a fresh appreciation for what it means to REST.
Home, as you can imagine, was not complicated. Snuggling with my puppies? Simple. Singing with my church and catching up with some of my merriest compatriots? Easy. Languishing in the old fashioned joys of unlimited conversation with the two people who brought me into the world? A relief. I swear they grow more intriguing by the day, or maybe it’s just that I’ve finally taken the time to notice. We are friends.
This pit-stop was not a necessary addition to my life. After fracturing my wrist this week, initial plans to work at the zip-line were totaled. But, in a very literal way, I could not have turned down the chance to go Home again. Not because my mother would have sent me coal in my next care package or spit in my desert for the next decade of my life. Though, I would never tempt fate that way. But, because as much as you can tell when the gas gauge is running low on your Jeep, I can tell when my own resources for optimism and hardiness are exhausted. I truly needed a rest-stop.
For me, it entails a lowering of expectations. Not to a point of sloth-like lethargy (sloths, can’t stand em!) or gluttony, but a standard below my normal perfectionism. I let myself press snooze until I was nice and ready to pop out from under the covers on a Saturday morning, for example. Something truly unheard of in the past few weeks. And there is positively NO shame in taking such a break! If you find yourself truly in need, you have likely earned the extra Zzzz’s, the extra moments of peace and few demands. As my mom reminded me this weekend, we are our own top priorities sometimes. And the kindest thing you can do for yourself is to inhale and exhale… breath.
My closing for this little update on my journey down this Road comes in the form of a little verbal nudge. And by “little verbal nudge,” of course, I mean a little verbal way of grabbing you by the shoulders and making one really really super duper important point. Stopping for a metaphorical pit-stop may be one of the simplest choices you ever make. It may be as easy as taking the time to sit in your favorite armchair and call up a friend, someone you can count on as the epitome of a caring heart. It may be as simple as taking a spin on the old bike (No, just me?) and allowing for a mental reboot. And, perhaps, it may entail a call to your mom and the words: “I need to go Home.”