On Enjoying the Ride

Imagine how sweet this journey would be if we quit second-guessing every one of our decisions.  What if we reveled in the things that went well for longer than we stewed over the things that went wrong.

We’d more easily live in the moment, if we quit beating ourselves up over how we mishandled the last moment.


Potholes Along the Way

Festering, lingering, dwelling on the difficult does not help us learn the lesson better; it keeps us in a holding pattern and prevents the arrival of new lessons.

If we more readily accepted that the downs were necessary for the goodness of the ups – would we enjoy the ride more?  Would we cease to take our funk out on our kids or the guy in the next cubicle or the clerk behind the counter?  Would we lift each other up, shed light for another or take better notes on how not to screw up again, if we believed that the process was supposed to include ups and downs, and that the sooner we left the downs behind, we’d be available for more ups?


Or maybe more downs…


If you’ve ever driven through Eastern Montana, you know how boring the ride can be without the occasional dip or rise in the road.  Don’t get me wrong.  Eastern Montana is gorgeous in that vast, expansive – God, I hope I don’t run out of gas before the next town – kind of way.  But, if you’ve ever spent a day driving on that two-lane highway – and it does take the better part of a day – you’ll be missing valleys and hills by sunset.


Accept that some days suck.


Know that it won’t last forever.


Realize that the downs give you the wisdom to help another and the opportunity to share what you’ve learned.   The downs are where growth resides.


Stop Long Enough to Take in the View

Blossoms look lovely and smell heavenly so we’ll stop and take notice.  They deliver a moment’s pause with their sweetness.

Blue skies are gorgeous so we’ll stand under them and ooo and ahhh at all that magnificence and wonder.

Books are enticing so we’ll want to while away the hours reading them.  When we swim in words written by another, we know the true value of our own story.

Music draws us in so that we may be soothed or energized, depending on what we need at the moment.

Art expresses outwardly what we feel internally.  Splash some paint, mix and match colors, use up the expensive markers, write that novel.  Express what you are feeling and learn the lessons.

Children have tiny hands that fit inside ours for a reason.  Hold them for as long as they’ll let you.  Take the time to watch a kid navigate a kitchen, or mow a backyard or get her ski boots and skis on by herself.  Those are reasons enough to keep teaching.  This parenting gig isn’t for sissies, but it’s full of sweet, simple rewards when done right.

We are given many opportunities to stop – appreciate – be grateful.  We can acknowledge those opportunities that make the ride enjoyable.

Or not.

Tune Into Your Right Music

The critical voice in our head – the naysayer, the doubter – is a composite of all the voices we ought to tune out.  They become the voice of a monster who spends its day comparing our choices to the choices of others.  Each time our choices differ from the mainstream, the monster gets larger and louder.  Its grin gets more sinister.  Its green stubby finger points at us while it laughs at our decisions.  It lurks in the corners, waiting to come at us in the middle of the night when we are most vulnerable.

Kick that monster to the curb.



Send it packing with a suitcase full of your insecurities and false assumptions.

Turn the dial to a new station.

Find the music that energizes you and drowns out the lingering memories of the monster’s voice.

Have faith in your choices and know they are right for you.


Will You Enjoy the Ride?

What will you do next?  Will you X out of this tab, open a new one and continue reading blogs until lunchtime, hoping to hit on the one that lights the fire under your butt?



Will you stop “your car” on the side of the road, take in the view, appreciate all that’s going well for you, and put the crap aside long enough to enjoy the ride?

I’m going to close my laptop, sneak over and kiss my kids, and then step into the backyard to snip some lilacs.

I’ll be the one waving and smiling as I pass by.



















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  1. Love it, LOVE it… Jesse, let me say it again: you write so well!

  2. I love this entry Jesse! Thank you so much for it! It is an excellent reminder of the mystery of how the ups and downs shape us–even when they are really tough or maybe because they are really tough!

    It reminds me not to get stuck in the land of “If only” or “What if . . . ”

    I love your writing! Have a fabulous weekend!!!

  3. Pat,

    Thank you, thank you. ;)

  4. Lynn,

    As you well know, it’s necessary to spend some time in the land of “if only” licking our wounds a bit. Hell, I still revisit that land once in awhile.

    I just don’t wanna live there.

    All the best to you and yours.

    Thanks for reading.

  5. Thank you for this! As I finish up my first semester of grad school exhausted, I still feel a built guilty for wanting the summer off to catch up on MY life. I get put on hold as I push through work, school, laundry…and I think I need to have some time for me. I just want to sit in the garden with a beer and be quiet. I want to have time to fish with the kids, go to the pool or the beach, visit with friends and maybe workout! I have enjoyed the learning and have benefited from it immensely, but I also need to breathe. It is hard to break through the conditioning of putting myself last…

  6. Z,

    Good morning. Guilt is like this ginormous thumb pressing down on the tops of our heads. No matter how much we take on, guilt makes sure that our personal needs always come last.

    Oh I wish for you more than one beer in the garden with the company of your most interesting friends who know when it’s time to go home.

    p.s. I think you are amazing for going back to school. I bet your boys do, too.

  7. Jesse, you are so kind. Some days I think they wish I would just put it all away! But they will see how hard work pays off and I am doing something for myself (even when I need a break from it). Wish you were here to enjoy a few beers with me! I am sure we could carry on all night and there is no need to go home when in good company. :)

  8. Z,

    Beers with you is on my bucket list.


  9. As soon as I pay off my attorney…I am on my way out there! Seriously.

  10. Z,

    I’ll be here. I hope you bring your boys. ;)

  11. For sure!

  12. Beautifully put Jesse, thanks.

  13. Hi Bea,

    Thanks for stopping by.

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