The summer of my 16th birthday, my friend Tracy and I took driving lessons together. It was probably our parents’ hope against hope that they would no longer have to drive us around. But learning to drive in Northern Virginia is no easy feat. It means cruising around the Beltway, navigating the narrow lanes and curves of the GW Parkway, and, gulp, learning to make the left onto Quander Rd off of Ft. Hunt Rd.
Well, we both struggled. Our hands were clammy and our instructor was intimidating. One day when Tracy was behind the wheel and feeling a little frazzled, our instructor said something that has never left my memory bank. “If you look right in front of you, it’s hard to go straight. You have to look at the horizon to go straight…just follow the line of the horizon.”
“Just follow the horizon.” I was thinking about it the other day when I was walking and intentionally tried to look into the distance, rather than a few feet in front of me. It helped me balance and almost seemed to stretch out my spine and expand my thoughts. I started thinking about the longevity of goals, of plans, of performance. When I think in terms of the vast stretch of life between myself and the horizon, I actually feel more at peace with daily decisions, bumps in the road, and all the unknowns in front of me.
Depending on where you are, you see different things between yourself and the horizon. Sometimes it’s a body of water, sometimes mountains, sometimes it’s the Key Bridge, or a less picturesque overpass on 495. A lot of times it’s hard to see the horizon with everything in the way. I like to make it a priority to find the horizon as much as possible. It’s my reset from the minutia.
Maybe on this long weekend we can all focus a little bit on the horizon. I bet it will be a good reset for Tuesday.