traffic on bridge into san francisco

ok…back to driving

About a decade ago, I was chatting on the phone with a guy I was seeing at the time, and we’d been in a pretty lengthy conversation while he was on the road. When it was time to hang up, Kevin said something that stuck with me because of the hilarity of it- he said, “Ok, talk to you later…back to driving!” I made some comment about how I had hoped he’d been driving all along, clearly a task that should have been his first priority during our convo, but that seemed so obvious it was comical. And it’s stuck with me ever since then…whenever I find myself distracted and finally getting back to whatever it was I should have been paying more attention to in the first place, I think to myself, “Ok, back to driving!”

That’s kind of where my life has taken me the last few months. I feel like I woke up recently from the haze of living someone else’s life while simultaneously neglecting my own except for the necessary daily robotic gestures we all do to make it through the day. And now that I have some distance from it all- physical, geographical, and mental distance, I’ve finally blinked a few times and looked around me. And I realized that I’m right where I’ve been all along, I just haven’t been paying attention.

It’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s drama, someone else’s pressing needs, and before you know it, weeks are flying by, and now the summer is over, and here I sit wondering how I missed it all. I don’t think I did anything I set out to do this summer. Honestly, it’s amazing how little I paid attention to…except the neverending task of filling the void in someone else’s life. Being their support, their rescuer, their champion, their successes – and their failures. I lived it all as though it was MY life, not theirs. I felt every success, and felt even more the failures, the setbacks, the hurt. The disappointment.

And now that I’ve finally woken up from it, and taken a few shaky breaths, I realize (with a great deal of both sadness and relief) that this was not, in fact, my life I’d been living. And when I look around me, and I see the people I love, the friends who are still my constants, my son who loves me sweetly, unconditionally, (but admittedly the most when I’m “Wednesday Mommy”)- I exhale a long, grateful sigh of relief. Because I realize that not that much has changed for me. I haven’t let any of the important stuff slip away. I just slept through a few months. And now I feel like I get another chance to do things differently- to do things better. I get another shot at figuring out what I need for me. And no one else gets to decide that for me.

So it’s time to get up, brush the imaginary dust off my sleeves, and really pay attention to my life again. It’s time to let go. It’s time to get back to what matters most. “Ok, here we go….back to driving….”

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