Keep the Gear in Drive

Sep 17, 2015 by

          On Tuesday night, I was on my way to Starbucks to write with nothing to write about and no motivation to force inspiration. I had finished work later than usual, and the last thing I felt like doing after closing one laptop was opening another. It was a beautiful night, I was in a really good mood, and all I wanted to do was ride my high with the window down. I didn’t want to be anywhere or do anything; I just wanted to go. So, with the highway only metres from where my car was on the road, I rushed three lanes over to board the on ramp.

          Nothing confirms you just made the best decision like that moment after you ditch your destination for a drive to nowhere and one of your favourite songs of all time comes on the radio (Champagne Supernova, Oasis). I drove to the lakeshore, literally the end of the road. When I got there, I turned right to keep going until I was ready to turn around and head home. Like I said, I didn’t feel like stopping. I just wanted to take in the night.

          While driving, my head was everywhere – in a therapeutic way. I wasn’t focusing on or analyzing anything. I just let my thoughts wander as they needed. At points, there were no thoughts at all, which you’d understand is a rare occurrence if you lived inside my constantly buzzing head. As I thought about both everything and nothing came inspiration.

          I happened to drive a route that included my old apartment. I felt like I was driving through a past life.

          That’s it! I realized.

          That’s the something I’ve wanted to write about but didn’t know how to articulate: the idea of lives within lives. In my memory, I organize my life into different segments based on the people, places, and feelings that characterize them. To name a few: my fake-ID days, my university years, and the early Happiness Experiment (The Happiness Experiment has gone on long enough now that my mind has begun to divide it into parts). What interests me about life segments like these are their overlaps and ends and transitions into one another, and that pieces of old segments surprisingly find their way into new segments. It’s just one of those things that sounds obvious and simple but blows my effing mind! I was living a totally different life at this time last year. The friends I talk to on a regular basis, my activities, and my perspectives have drastically changed. And it’s not just this year versus last year, it’s last year versus the year before, it’s September versus March, it’s The Happiness Experiment versus depression. It makes my head spin to think about all the different versions of my life that I’ve lived. It’s the best kind of dizzy. It gives me faith that there are more wonderful surprises to come with other beautiful segments to live.

          I was gone driving for little over an hour on Tuesday night, but life felt completely refreshed when I returned. That drive cleared my head, and I think that’s what I was hoping for. I wasn’t anxious, but I could feel anxiety coming. I knew I needed some preemptive damage control. My week’s been a mental breeze since.

Happiness Tip: Drive to nowhere.

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