It starts out with one questionable choice, followed by two more bad decisions, and next thing you know, you’re standing at an intersection trying to figure out if three wrongs really will make a right.
Everybody has found themselves nestled in a car seat, comfortably cruising down that long highway that represents childhood. The roads are smooth, the directions, well-indicated. And anyway, you don’t really need to pay attention; someone else is driving. All you have to do is enjoy the ride. Play with your feet. Make some noise. Sleep when you get tired. Sure, there might be loud noises, bright orange cones, and probably some scary-sized trucks and such, but it’s okay, Mom’s there. Besides, it can be fun to look back once the frightening part has passed, and watch the construction of new overpasses, just to see where the next generation will be headed. Be amazed, keep your spirit open, and take in the moment.
This nice drive, however long it may be, always seems to end so abruptly. As if your chauffeur just pulled over and dumped you behind the wheel, promptly disappearing. Suddenly, you feel as though it’s a whole other road. The pavement that was so level earlier turns out to be nothing more than gravel under the tires. The car begins to swerve out of control; after-all you don’t know what you’re doing, as you’ve never done this before. It won’t be long before you’re skidding down that steep hill, clueless about your whereabouts, and not entirely confident. You will drive anyway. It will most likely be awkward and uncomfortable, but you will try none-the-less, because you know that if you don’t, traffic will keep moving, and you will be left behind. After much jerky acceleration, and countless abrupt stops, you will feel you’ve started to get the hang of things. Be cautious, at this point, or your independence may lead you to a dead-end. Always assume there is more to learn; you will eventually realize that you do not know everything.
Once you really have mastered the basics, it’ll be smooth sailing from there… aside from everything nature throws at you of course. You will face snowstorms, patches of ice, animal crossings, darkness, blinding sunlight, and pouring rain. You’ll learn to react to certain circumstances and to interact with other drivers. Desperately, you may try to keep up to speed. Do not be too disappointed if you are surpassed from time to time (which you will be). Remember, however, that though you may not be at the wheel of the most expensive car on the parkway, your dreams are worth far more than any fancy sports model. Whatever your vehicle, you can go anywhere you please. You have free will. Keep in mind that time passes rapidly; don’t bother attempting to hold on to the minutes slipping out of your hands. You have your whole life ahead of you.
You may pick up a few hitchhikers throughout your journey. Yes, it can be dangerous, but trust your instincts. It’s okay; you wouldn’t get anyplace interesting without taking a couple of well-thought risks. You could be surprised by some of these encounters; give them a chance. Have a little faith. Accept none-the-less that some travelers just won’t quite be compatible with your ideals; do not be afraid to drop them at the nearest truck stop, just do your best to remain courteous, polite, and, more importantly, safe.
The handful of the strays you may stop for may hang around for quite some time. They are the ones you will keep in touch with, the people on which you will count. A special one of them may never leave, probably because you will want that person to join in on your adventure. That’s how the backseat fills up.
Before you know it, your son or daughter is nestled in their car seat, comfortably cruising down that long highway that represents childhood. You will prepare them for their own voyage as best you can, even though you know that when the time comes for you to hand over the keys, everything will probably have changed so much that they won’t even need to drive. Instead, they will be teaching you how teleportation works, and roaming through magnetic fields cautiously, the same way you did on those very first dirt roads.
Written By: Katherine Willcocks