Sunday Scribblings..."I don't want to be a passenger in my own life."
“I don’t want to be a passenger in my own life.” – Diane Ackerman
For many years, I was perfectly content, even relieved, to sit back and release the control and direction of my life to others. I found comfort in relinquishing personal responsibility and allowing someone else to take charge. The decisions, and consequences, no longer rested heavy upon my shoulders. I had no need to take care of myself as my trust and faith lay completely in those around me. When life reared its ugly head, I was comforted with the knowledge and acceptance that the driver would maneuver me to a place of safety. The more time that passed, the more control I relinquished to others, the less I trusted myself and the less I knew the boundary between my own life and those that were carrying me along for the ride.
In many ways, it was a comfortable way to live. It was the easy way. It was the only way I knew. Eventually, and gradually, I came to realize that life is not always easy and finding the most comfortable way is only guaranteed to impede any personal growth. I was told I was weak and I accepted my weakness without much thought. It seemed predetermined that I was too fragile a human being to traverse the path of life alone; I needed a driver and I was destined to be the passenger.
Years later, I look back on those times with mixed emotions. At times, I think back and long for the comfort of reassurances that “everything will be okay”. But I also look back and realize that where I stand today, and who I am today, is far better than being just “a passenger in my own life”. The journey is much harder now, the terrain much more treacherous at times. I no longer take the easy route, depending on others to guide me toward that illusory pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In fact, it is often difficult to even see the rainbow these days. But when the rain stops and the clouds move away, when I look up and see the rainbow at the end of the storm, I know that the beauty I see is because I have chosen to look up and see it. I am no longer dictated by the direction of others, no longer dependant upon the reassurance that “everything will be okay”. The truth of life is that everything will not always be okay, but through the struggles, I will become stronger and in the end, I will be okay.
I like to be the driver these days. It’s frustrating and confusing and overwhelming at times, especially when the traffic is bad. But in each of the difficult moments, I remind myself that I am not a weak person and I grow a little bit more. Through frustration, I learn patience. Through confusion, I learn to seek clarity, to take chances, and to have faith in myself. And in those overwhelming moments, I learn that my own strength is far greater than I ever knew. Strength and hope and determination are the passengers that now accompany me. I am happy to no longer be “a passenger in my own life”.