Hi, hello, and howdy, folks. Raise your hand if you feel the middle of August has come much to quickly this year. I mean, it seems like yesterday we were ringing in 2021 – and now, stores are already rolling out Halloween candy. (Even saw some Christmas stuff last week!)
Eight months into the year, and it’s been a whirlwind. But I want to remind y’all that life isn’t about how much time we have. It’s how we spend the time. The past few weeks have been a reminder of days gone by and the people we meet along the way.
Like many, I’ve lost family and friends. Whether through the ills of life or the pandemic, each impacted our lives in some meaningful way. And their absence leaves a void. Maybe it’s a smell that brings back a memory of them. Or the feel of leather, metal, or fabric.
Each time behind the wheel, I’m reminded of my dad. The first time I drove, he was in the passenger seat. “Step on the gas,” he said. I did. And that Buick LeSabre took off like a scalded dog! “Step on the brake,” he hollered. I did. And that Buick LeSabre came to a screeching halt!
Life is about context. One person’s perception may not be exactly how you expect it to be received. “Step” on the gas wasn’t exactly what my dad thought I’d do. In hindsight, he probably should have said, “Slowly press the gas pedal.” Ditto the brake comment. But we laugh about it today, albeit the moment shaved a bit off his life expectancy.
Last month, a childhood friend passed away. As I reminisced about the times we shared growing up, the memories were muddled – except for the clear-as-a-bell laughter that rang in my mind. Her belly-laughs were unforgettable, a welcoming combination of this might hurt a little, but we’ll never forget the moment.
As we got older, our paths would cross every now and then. She’d ask about something I’d posted on social media. I’d ask about her family. She’d tease me about “marrying up.” I’d push her buttons about her Rolodex of boyfriends in high school. And that was the takeaway; we knew each other, and time never stood still for us.
As you deliver – cross-country, state-wide, or locally – no doubt there are times when your mind wanders to yesteryear. Remembering a simpler time that’s calming for the nerves and soothing for the soul. A mental bowl of chicken noodle soup.
Time isn’t slowing down for anyone. It’s taken 50-plus years and four kids to understand that nugget. Still, when I accepted that living in the moment is easier than trying to turn back time … well, life changed for the better. I hope you’ve reached that point, too.
We’re hurtling toward the holidays, a time when everyone looks to rekindle relationships and re-examine their lot in life before the new year dawns. So give some thought to starting that change now. (No time like the present, right?)
Your past does not define you. I overcame stepping on the gas in favor of being able to feather the throttle. I no longer step on the brake; it’s easier on the body (and the truck!) to slow your roll in anticipation of the stop. We’re all learning every day.
So, let’s welcome August and know that September is coming soon. Yep – Labor Day Weekend is around the corner. As the wheels roll on, keep the bugs off your glass and see what’s in front of you: a world so small your family and friends are their own universe – and you are the sun they revolve around.
And grab some Halloween candy at the next stop. Never wait to make the most of life – especially when candy is involved.
P.S. Next month, we’re going to celebrate the pride of Audubon, Iowa! And I’ll share a recipe for an unforgettable backyard holiday soiree …