What would you do if I told you that you had to DRIVE from the middle of the United States to San Francisco, then clear across the United States to Niagara Falls, down to Ft Lauderdale, then back to the middle of the United States?
That it didn't matter how long it took but you would have to put about 9,000 miles on your car to do it.
Not in an RV but in a mini van type vehicle.
What would you do?
Well, if you're like most people, your thinking about it would defeat you even before you drove one mile down the road. "It's just too long to be in a car!" "It's just too much driving!" "My car's too old, it would never make it." Blah Blah Blah!!! Right?
On 28 August 2008, my husband and I pulled out of our driveway on our way to San Francisco to take a 10-day Alaska Cruise. We stopped along the way of course and arrived in San Francisco on 1 September.
On 4 September, we boarded our cruise ship for our first adventure to Alaska. It was great.
We didn't get home till 1 November 2008. We actually put close to 9,000 miles on our mini van. We stayed at various hotels AND with some very good friends along the way. The most we paid for gas was $4.10 for gas; the least we paid for gas was $2.47. We ate fast food, hotel food, restaurant food, sandwiches and chips (made in the car while driving), and yummy good ole' homecookin' at friends' houses.
We had suitcases packed JUST FOR THE CRUISE. We had suitcases packed for mild and cooler weather--we were ready for just about any sort of weather!!!!!
We paid by cash or debit card (and lost a debit card along the way too). I subscribed to a broadband (aircard) service so I would have 24/7 access to anything via my laptop. I paid my bills along the way through my bank. I also prepaid some things that I knew would be due while we were gone. I signed up for paperless statements so I would get billing statements via my email so I had that covered. I wanted NO surprises when I got home (whenever that would be!).
When my husband and I pulled out of our driveway on 28 August, we didn't know that we would be gone for over 63 days, that we would put almost 9,000 miles on our mini van, that we would drive from coast to coast clear across the United States. The only thing we did know was that we were driving to San Francisco to take an Alaskan cruise and then drive to Cleveland, Ohio. After Cleveland, our plan was to drive home. Not too bad, right? It's doable.
We gave ourselves the option of driving back home if we wanted to. If either one of us said, "I've had enough of this driving, let's go home. We'll fly to Cleveland," then the agreement was to do just that--drive home!
But, day by day, mile by mile, neither one of us ever said that. We just drove and drove and drove and drove, having an adventure.
I would make hotel reservations for the next 2 to 3 days, never really knowing where we would be much further than that. I'm not one to "wing it" when it comes to a place to stay. I want to know that I have a bed waiting for me that evening!!!!! The longest we ever drove in one day was 8 hours; the shortest was 4 hours.
While in Cleveland, Ohio, staying with our good friend, Rita, we talked about NOT going home but maybe driving to Niagara Falls. From that one decision, I mapped out a plan for us.
I thought it would be great to continue on down from Niagara Falls, to see some friends in Wayne, PA; Jacksonville, FL; and Ft Lauderdale, FL; AND to visit Orlando for some fun fun fun. And we did just that. We went and put our feet in the Atlantic Ocean in Atlantic City. We stayed with our friends and had a blast. We spent 5 days in Orlando and had fun fun fun.
We took our time and made our way back home by way of Gulfport, MS; New Orleans, LA, and Houston, TX.
The only "deadline" we had was to get home by 4 November so we could vote (and before it got too cold for our turtles outside!).
Had somebody told us that on 28 August we would be "on the road" for over 63 days, put about 9,000 miles on our car, drive from coast to coast from one end of the United States to the other, we would have said, "Are you crazy! No way"!
But because we took it basically one day at a time, one mile at a time, one adventure at a time, one city at a time, one National Park at a time, everything--one at a time--the trip didn't seem that long, that hard, or that bad.
I'm learning that LIFE is so much like our roadtrip. LIFE is all about taking it one day at a time. It's not about losing that 100 pounds NOW. It's not about fighting a disease to win NOW. It's not about getting that promotion NOW!
It's not about having a family NOW! It's not about doing anything NOW!
LIFE is about today and tomorrow! What must I do today? What must I do tomorrow? That's it. I knew where we would sleep for the night and I knew where we had to drive to get to the hotel where we had reservations for tomorrow. That's all I cared about.
LIFE is thinking about the baby steps toward a goal and not thinking about how difficult it is to reach that goal. It's hard enough to reach your goals without YOU getting in the way, thinking about all the negatives!
Today, I found out that I reached a goal in my so-called stamping "business" that I NEVER thought I would ever reach. It's been a goal that I quite literally forgot about because I just KNEW that I would NEVER reach that goal. In my mind, it was too hard, too much work, too much too much too much, so I basically defeated myself and stopped trying.
But what I did continue to do was just have fun stamping. If I get promoted, GREAT; if I don't, GREAT. I'm having fun; I'm doing what I want to do--no pressure, no stress!
Well, it has taken me YEARS to reach this goal and BOOM, today I found out that I had reached it and I didn't even realize it. How funny, huh?
I challenge you to reach for your goals but do it in such a way that you don't forget about LIFE along the way. Have fun in whatever you do. Give yourself the luxury of TIME; achieve your goals according to your schedule and not according to someone else's schedule. Think about today and tomorrow--that's it. In your mind and in your heart, it's sooooooooooo much more doable!
When you reach your goal, you still have the wonderful feeling of accomplishment but it's done according to YOUR terms and you haven't missed living along the way!