I was heading home from work last week when I realized how slowly I was driving down the gravel road on my route.
Captivated by the clusters of bee balm and chickory, scanning the hillsides for elderberries, and watching the romps of the red squirrels and the soar of an eagle, hurrying was out of the question.
Later, as I rounded a corner a field of glorious sunflowers exploded into view.
I think I pulled over three times in wonder on one twenty minute drive.
And I remember thinking that I could never drive quickly on this route. Its too beautiful!
But then I know – there are days that I do. Days when I drive too fast. Day I hurry through, unaware of the beauty that surrounds me. Destination in mind, no magic or beauty to get in my way.
It's the same road, but my experience couldn't be more different.
There is little question which drive is more fulfilling.
And I think that life is a lot like my commute. Parenting, housework, our jobs and our relationships all share much with my drive home. They can be glorious or frustrating, hurried or delightful. We can race through or we can take our time.
Mostly it's up to us.
Here are five tips to help you enjoy the journey a little more (be it your commute to work or your path through life). Tips picked up along my quiet gravel road, for wherever you may roam.
Five Ways to Enjoy the Journey
1. Notice beauty
Beauty is everywhere. It's up to us to find it. In the silhouette of the buildings against the morning sky, the way the clouds are racing past the sun, or the August sunflowers are glowing against the hills.
We get to decide if we see them or not. Let's notice.
2. Slow down
How much you see is often determined by the speed at which you travel. Slow down. On your drive, in your day, through your life.
Savor the journey. Because very little of this is about the destination.
You can't control the behavior of others – either on the highway or in your life. When frustration bubbles up instead of shaking your fist (literally or otherwise) drop back and let others in.
Replacing anger with compassion will open your heart and brighten your journey.
4. Enjoy the company
Whether you're going it alone or traveling with loved ones, enjoy the company. Any relationship benefits from us looking closely and noticing what we appreciate about one another.
Take time to listen – to your family, your friends, and the quiet thoughts in your own head.
5. Choose the scenic route
The fastest way there or the most glorious journey? I choose the latter.
Because more of our life is spent getting to where we're headed that it is arriving. Let's fall in love with the path we're on.
Because life? It turns out it's mostly a journey anyway. So let's not forget to find ourselves – and our joy – out there on the road.