Taking the Long Way Home
I've never been a big fan of a routine. I know some of you out there must love the stability and predictability of routines, but I don't. And yes, I know, I sound like a classic millennial here, but it's also just a part of who I am.
Knowing this about me, you can imagine that post-grad life has been an adjustment for me.
College is full of freedom, flexibility and change. A lot of people think college is less busy than the working world, but I've never found that to be the case. My senior year I was working 2 part-time jobs, taking a full class load and working on implementing a massive PR campaign. My schedule was way fuller than it is now, but it was different every day.
Cut to now, post-grad working a job that keeps me on a similar day-to-day schedule. One night as I was driving home from work I noticed a particular truck driving in front of me. It caught my attention because the way my car's lights hit a metallic portion of their license plate nearly blinded me. I didn't think much of it at first.
The next day, I was driving home the same way. Lost in thought, I suddenly found myself blinded by a shiny object in front of me. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was, in fact, the same exact truck with the same exact license plate shining its light in my face the exact same way it had the day before.
Something inside me snapped.
Have you ever been there?
You're just going along with your day, probably not even paying that much attention, when all of a sudden something snaps you out of it and you suddenly realize you're stuck in a rut.
For me, the truck was more of a symbol for the routine I can so often find myself getting trapped in.
In high school, I used to try to mentally challenge myself to try to find new ways to get to my classes each day. It was my small attempt to implement the age old adage to try something new every day. So, one day I'd take a different stairwell or the elevator or different hallways. Changing this small part of my routine every day helped me keep a fresh mind and helped me mentally feel like I wasn't trapped.
Once I snapped that day, I decided to stop taking the most straightforward path home consisting of primarily the boring highway.
I started taking the long way home.
I stay off the highways, and I try out several different back-road options to make my way from work to home every afternoon.
It's a small thing, but you know what? It has made all the difference.
Sure, it takes 5-10 minutes longer for me to commute home every night. But I'm not siting in the traffic that always builds up on my exit. I'm not trapped in the same routine every night. And more importantly I'm taking the time to enjoy the mundane task of driving home every night.
I don't know about you, but my life is a lot like the long way home.
I've never been someone who finds my life unfolding along the shortest path. I'm guessing most people can relate.
If you've ever learned your lesson the hard way, or wondered why God was taking so long to answer a prayer, or gotten the good news at the absolute last minute possible - you've found yourself on the long way home once or twice in your life (or if you're like me, a million times).
Looking back at my blogs from years past, you can see this trend. I didn't learn how to be a good friend until I was struck with grief. I didn't find a required internship until like a week past the due date, and month past the date of my mental breakdown. And I'm taking my sweet time figuring out how to live post-grad life to the fullest.
I could write probably 1,000 other posts about how I plan my life too much and forget to trust God's too often. But for today, I'm learning to just enjoy taking the long way home.
When your best laid plans fail, try looking at your surroundings.
If you're lucky, you may get to see a beautiful sunset. Or a neighborhood full of children playing. Or maybe just a view that's a little different than what you're used to.
Whether it's literally or figuratively, try taking the long way home tonight.