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  • Writer's pictureEmily Rojas

What's Right in Front of Us

The very first day I drove the long commute to my current job, I drove up a big hill and was greeted by the sun rising just ahead of me over a beautiful, scenic mountain range. It took my breath away that first time, all the colors and the contrast with the dark mountains and the bright, shining sun.

I remember thinking to myself at that moment, don't ever take this for granted.

I hoped I would always remember to look over the mountains on my drive into work.

I made a promise to myself that first day that no matter my mood, my state of life, or how much sleep I got the night before, I'd take a few seconds every morning to look at that stunning view and appreciate it.

There's more to this ritual than just a pretty sunrise in the mornings. I know myself well enough to know I tend to dread routine. I knew that eventually, I'd have days where I'd tire of the same-old-drive and the same-old-job. I knew I would one day need this moment of magic and mystery and majesty.

It's such a simple thing. Every day I drive to work, and every day it's there. It's a few seconds of a nice view, nothing more than that. But every morning when I notice it, it's enough to make me pause.

I have to admit, though, after more than a year and a half of the drive, there are many mornings I don't even think about this view. Some days I get so caught up in worrying about being late, stressing about my to-do list, and struggling to stay awake that I forget about the view.

But now, during these truly insane times, I know that what's right in front of us is more important than ever.

Back in the pre-COVID times, I used to love spending my free time planning vacations. This may sound insane to some of you, that's fine. But in times when I felt trapped or stuck, it helped me dream of escape.

I would use the Kayak explore tool to find the cheapest flights, scour Airbnb for deals, set up alerts on travel websites for price-drops. Sometimes those trips came to fruition, but mostly they didn't, and that was honestly fine with me. Just the planning, daydreaming, imagining was enough.

In a time of travel restrictions and safety precautions and social distancing, it's difficult to dream up these plans like I once did.

This year, I've found myself forced to face what's right in front of me.

Like many of us, I've been staying home as much as humanly possible. What better time to face the things that are right in front of us, the every day, the mundane, and pause just to appreciate them.

I haven't eaten out in restaurants, and I've gotten really, really thankful for take-out. I haven't seen so many family members and friends, but I've gotten thankful for Zoom and Facetime. I struggled through COVID a few weeks ago, and it's made me more grateful than ever for good health.

What I'm trying to say is, maybe the magic and majesty and mystery exists in the everyday things. Maybe, it's been there all along.

What I am trying to say is, take advantage of what's right in front of you.

If I've learned anything this year, is that it is possible to find so much beauty in the mundane. I am learning I don't need to escape on some fantastical journey to experience those same feelings of wonder and joy.

That beauty is there in virtual game nights, ice cream sundaes, one-person dance parties, movie marathons, and, yes, even early-morning drives to work. It's there if we're only willing to look for it.


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