Road-Trip to Self-Reflection
Early this morning, as the smell of fresh coffee filled my little vw bug — the sun was bursting over the mountains, radio turned up, set in cruise control, driving through the Adirondacks — it occurred to me that this might be one of the last times I would make the long trek through the mountains to school as a college student. Having realized this, I vowed to appreciate all the things about this drive that I normally overlook.
As I was winding through one of the more remote areas, I lost cell phone coverage. I kept checking to see if I had gotten it back. After 10 minutes of rather incessant checking, I stopped, and evaluated my behavior…after all, I had vowed to enjoy the charms of the journey for what they were. I began thinking about why I was panicked by not having cell phone coverage. It meant I was truly alone. Then I thought about why that scared me; I thought about why I didn’t feel completely terrified by being alone in 5 degree weather in the middle of the woods. I noted the comfort of moving rather fast and the protection my car was providing me.
In today’s society, in which we are so well connected, being completely alone with nothing but our own thoughts is rare. I recently watched a TED talk by Brene Brown in which she discusses the role of vulnerability and humility in success. The only way we can do great work is to embrace our vulnerabilities and insecurities, allow them to humble us, but not to weaken or hinder us in our pursuits. Our vulnerabilities make us human, they make us authentic, and authenticity is the heart of greatness.
Our machines and technology make us feel untouchable and powerful, falsely immune to the powers of nature. I think it is important that we take a moment every now and again to remember what we as an individual are without all of our technologies and gadgets. Taking time to appreciate the wonders of magnificent, unaltered nature is rightfully humbling, and so important in helping us to remember our humanity.
The above is true for technology but also the people (and animals) who love and support us; who are we without them? Not only are these considerations humbling and important for personal growth, but they help us to rightfully appreciate all that we have. In an ever evolving world, moving full speed ahead, it is important we make a concerted effort not to take for granted what we have been given; to care for and respect it because without it, we cannot be all that we are.