Day three. Digh asks: who’s in the driver’s seat? Am I driving my own life or am I merely a passenger?
It was an interesting action, this. Digh challenged me to imagine myself on a familiar street, as the driver of my own car, and to write for five minutes on what I observed, what I did, the actions I took as driver.
Then I was to place myself in the passenger seat and write, again for five minutes, about that experience.
I understand the point Digh was making. Life Is a Verb is geared toward equipping readers to drive their own cars. But that’s not always possible.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many aspects of my life in which I truly wish I were the driver. I wish I were free to pick up and move. That door is closed to me at this time. I wish I could work at what I truly want to work at, but I don’t know how to make that happen, not yet. I wish I had money enough to fulfill a long-held dream of opening a studio/gathering space for fiber junkies. I wish I could control my own damn thermostat.
Not being the driver is often full of frustration.
But here’s the thing—being a passenger isn’t always all bad. Sure, it’s passive most of the time and you’re at the whim of others, but think about it this way:
You don’t have to concentrate so hard when you’re a passenger. You don’t have to pay attention to where you are, what the road signs read, how fast you’re going, whether or not you just blew through that stop signal. You get to see more. You don’t miss the details, like that dog in the ditch (and what exactly that dog was chewing on), or the flowers in that yard over there, or that great old faded Coke sign. You can relax a bit—depending on who’s driving, of course. Sometimes being a passenger is pure white knuckle all the way, but if your driver is someone you can trust? It can be wonderful.
Maybe a balance between the two is desirable.
Or maybe, in the five or ten minutes that have passed since I wrote that last sentence, I’ve seen a little truth about my own life. I’ve played the passenger for most of it. I’ve been passive all too often and have allowed circumstance and others to direct my course. I’ve been lazy and too apathetic to do anything about the way I live and work (or don’t), where I live, what I do with my limited time.
Maybe this is what Digh is getting at when she talks about waking up, being mindful, and living intentionally.
Maybe it’s time to take the keys.