A Freeway Story

I drive just about every day from the Hollywood (101) to the Harbor Freeway (110). It’s a drag, and not just because of the traffic, I have to cross four lanes to merge from the freeway and then a couple of yards later, I have to move five more lanes right to my exit.

But the other day I realized, gee, I don’t really have to move any lanes. If I just stay to the right the whole time I can slip into my exit, which comes up about a quarter mile on the 110 anyway. It was a revelation.

And now I think about that freeway merger sometimes and how it applies to my life. Maybe some obstacles aren’t really obstacles after all. Sometimes, the things we put in our way are self-imposed. For me, that means I need to stop thinking I need to be successful to be happy. I am happy because I’m happy. I have to be myself, stay in my lane, and maybe I’ll make it on time after all.

Anyway, complicated travel plans aren’t always the best. If I think I need to win this contest, find this agent, and then make that movie before I’m thirty, I am going to end up with a heart attack at thirty-one. Either that or I’ll find myself working on Beethoven IV or Land Before Time XVIII. Goals are important, but they can get in the way of the real work of self-discovery. Instead, I need to find the opportunities that are meaningful to me, the kind that don’t involve mad dashes through traffic.

In other news, I think I’ve been spending too much time on the freeway…

6 responses to “A Freeway Story

  1. Well put! You just opened my heart to an answer I’ve been looking for for a long time.
    I’m really too fixated on my goal and thus too impatient.

    My mum uses to say do one thing at a time and finish it. She’s right. I know she’s right, but I doom her for being; which makes me a bad person in a way. She tells me that there’s nothing to worry about at the moment… I’m in the middle of my studies, got a job and enough time to do something else if I only want to, and the most gracious benefit: a great home in a lovable supportive family. …but why can’t I see it?!

    I’ve always been striving for higher goals and usually reached most of them, but now that I’m a writer I have to deal with stuff like writer’s block and other obstacles that just slow down the pace of reaching goals.

    After all I forgot that I still have up to 1.5 years to relax until I have my B.A. and then I can go on.

    So there’s still a lot of time left… I might sell my first script at 22 or at 32 or 42… who knows?! One goal at a time. It’s just that thing in the back of my head which makes me feel like I’m missing out on something.

    Thanks Jon.

  2. “For me, that means I need to stop thinking I need to be successful to be happy.”

    Hear hear. Just tonight I was speaking with someone near and dear to me, and it breaks my heart how sad she is, because there’s nothing wrong with her life, it’s just how she thinks about it. She keeps thinking that she’d be happier if X or when Y, but the truth is, she’s always thought that, and getting X or Y doesn’t help; it’s just leads her to want A or need B. There will always be something more, you know? So we’ve got to learn to be content with what we have.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still have goals and work hard to achieve them. I think you can be happy but still strive.

    And of course, I’ve got to be sure to take my own advice and not get hung up on “the next step” in my writing career, because hey, there will always be another step, right? 🙂

  3. For me it was figuring out that success may not look like or feel like what I thought it would. Letting go of those expectations and preconceived notions has helped me immeasurably.

  4. @ Sarah – Glad that the post helped focus your thoughts. We have our entire lives to do everything. I think pacing is important.

    @ Kristan – Agreed, as they used to say in the sixties, it’s the journey, not the destination.

    @ Rebecca – Thanks so much for the comment. Ultimately, you have to make yourself happy, not someone else.

  5. writer-at-heart

    Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

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