Saturday, September 24, 2005

450 miles

As the title says, I went 450 miles today. Started by looking up an oil change place. Drove to Chevron Oil place in north Tucson. They were quick and great--even told me I didn't need a new air filter after all. Then I was on my way, taking it easy again--65 mph when the speed limit was 75mph. Took longer breaks, too, whenever I stopped, to give the engine a chance to cool down a bit and drove the last hundred miles after dark when it was cooler.

Found myself thinking how different it feels going west to east than it did going east to west a year and a half ago. This time I know where I'm going, this time I'm going to settle down. This time I'm more sure of myself. But both times I loved driving, singing along to the radio.

I'm tired though. Drove farther than I'd like but necessary if I'm going to make it to Austin in time. Tomorrow will be another 450 miles--which will put me within an hour or two of Austin. Good thing I allowed an extra day--mapquest's estimate of 26 hours was absurdly optimistic!

There was a moment yesterday when I panicked. What if my car broke down? What if I got stranded in the desert? All the kinds of worries that tend to hit at 3 in the morning. And the thing is, as long as I felt that panic, I couldn't think of any solutions. Fortunately, it was shortlived and as soon as I let it go, I realized I could get the oil changed and alter my driving pattern a bit and it worked. I'm 450 miles closer to where I need to be.

And that's the thing--panic is never helpful. It gets in the way of thinking of solutions. So anything that reduces the panic is a step forward.

Upshot is that instead of being a day of being worried, today became another affirmation of what I can accomplish.

What works for you to reduce panic? What lets you feel in control? Make a list. Seriously. Make a list you can keep handy. So that you don't have to think about it--it's automatic. These are the steps you will take so that you can always figure out how to let go of panic and figure out solutions to any challenge you face.