When you end up driving 736 miles in one day by yourself, you get some time to think about a lot of things. That is what I did yesterday in my time that I spent in the Big Red Beast (My 2003 Saturn Vue) as I drove to and back from Indianapolis. You have probably noticed this is a racing website and normally I give my thoughts about the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Today I use my column to write a little bit about how some isolation on the road can make you think about a lot of things.
I called this article What Do I Really Know. I thought about a lot of things yesterday from all aspects of my life. It was not until I got home and was extremely tired that the title of this article came to my mind. After taking a shower to wash off the dirt and grime from having fixed Dave’s car in Indianapolis, it was really time for bed. I was tired; I had the spent the entire day basically on the go. I had a few texts from a person I like to chat with, and then laid down to go sleep. You would think after doing all I did yesterday that I would fall directly asleep. Not really, it was roughly 90 minutes to two hours later that I finally fell asleep.
My mind was racing with a lot of things that I had thought about during the drive. It came to my mind at the same time that What Do I Really Know. I took a few minutes to wonder about that. What do I really know about myself and life is what it came down to. With that quick explanation, here is kind of what I came up with.
I first thought about what I did yesterday. I spent an entire day driving across country and back to help a best friend fix his car. Why would I do that, because I care about my friends. I have a group of four or five friends that I would do anything for. I would do anything even if it seems to be a crazy idea like spending an entire day to drive many miles to only do a brake and rotor job all the way around on a car. I thought how many other people out there might do something like that. I also thought how many of my friends would do something like that for me. My guess is the folks I would do it for would do it for me if the circumstances warranted. My other thought is that many people out there would come up with any excuse possible to avoid a similar situation. Me, if I can do it for my besties, I going to get it done for them.
I enjoy doing things for people, but that makes it real easy for me to be taken advantage of. Which brings me to my next what do I really know. I have a big heart and believe in the good in people. I do believe most people out there do not want to take advantage of you. Some do though. It is a sad feeling when you do something from the heart and you feel that someone has taken advantage of you. For the record, I do not feel taken advantage of for helping with car. That is not what this part is about, it is just in general. I offered to go to Indianapolis and help, and was glad that I did. I was also very glad that Dave’s car got fixed because the condition of his brake system was not safe for him to be driving his car.
What this led me to is that I do not really know anything about people. I have often had trouble understanding people and what makes them tick per say. Some people have drive, passion and enthusiasm for a many different things. Some people have none at all. Sometimes I wonder why people are not more like me. It is not that people have to be me, but why they are not like me. It is something that runs through my mind and I think about. If you cannot tell already, sometimes I have a lot of time on my hands to just think. No, it is not always good to sit and think and that is why I am writing this.
I next thought about dreams. I am a dreamer and I like to dream big. I also like to make some of my dreams become reality. I like to plan things and make them happen. There is nothing like the anticipation of putting something together and seeing the days on the calendar go by as it gets closer. I not only dream about doing things, but I do dream about how I would like my life to be. I would have to imagine that I am like most people and believe that my life is not exactly the way I had planned it out when I was younger. No one ever plans on having medical bills to pay for, or in my case dental expenses that never seem to end. No one expects the car to have problems. No one expects to lose their job at no fault of their own. You get the picture. I dream of people not trying to change who I am. I think about people accepting my form of humor for what it is. I dream of being with someone who is kind, considerate and supportive no matter what the situation happens to be. It is good to have dreams; it helps me to sometimes escape the days that really bring you down.
Bad luck was next that came to my mind. I could debate in my mind for a long time whether good luck and bad luck actually exist. I am not sure even this moment whether they exist or not. All I know is if one exists, the other has to exist as well. Again if they do exist, I drew the wrong straw and got the bad luck end on the day were drawing or handing out the luck. When it can go wrong for me, it all goes wrong and all piles on at once. When it is good, things are decent and they move along. Yes, there are times you have to make your own luck and I understand that. What I am saying when things are out of my hand it is usually not going to go the way I would like them to go. Sometimes that is fine and I can accept. Sometimes I put my head down and wonder why me. Sometimes I wonder why this does not happen to other people. It probably does happen to others but I never notice it.
Green pieces of paper are generally what I call money. I do not have a lot of those pieces of paper, some past bad luck, at least we will chalk it up to that at this point, left me in a situation with the ultimate in bad luck that I do not wish on anybody. The hard times are getting close to being over, but they are not done yet. I have come to better understand money and it’s over importance in our world. Not saying that money does not have its place and it is a motivator. I make do with what I have. Like most, I would like to have more money, but at times it is humbling to struggle a little bit. It does allow you some appreciation for what you do have. It also shows you that it is not important to keep up with the Jones family down the street. Case in point, the Big Red Beast now has 165,000+ miles on it. Please enjoy your new car, if that is what makes you happy. What makes me happy is that I do not have any payments and have the title for the Big Red Beast. I know you need money to survive, but I have given up placing a huge emphasis on it. I used to get mad about my financial situation and worried about what was going to happen. If this or that happens how am I going to take care of it? I do not any longer. Again, I have what I have and I go from there. It is funny how going to McDonalds with your kids can be a great experience when you rarely get to go out to eat. Trust me, when their young they could care less. They are just happy about the toy at the bottom of the box, and the smile on their face is worth more than any piece of paper you can earn.
I use to put such an emphasis on work it was not funny. Do not get me wrong, I go to work each day and I give my all for the company that I work for. I put in my hours and do everything possible to enhance shareholder value. I know what it means, but I would rather do my all to enhance customer experience than make someone else more money when they already have plenty. It took me some time to learn something important about work. You cannot devote your life to it. There has to be a balance in what you do for the company, and making sure you have time for yourself and your family. At one time I put in all the hours I possibly could. I wanted the big promotion and all the responsibility it comes with. I got it, then I found out it is lonely at the top. It is never stops, and everyone always wants your time. Other higher ups can you tell you the company wants you to make sure your family is taken care of and all that jazz before the business. I can tell you that is mostly doubletalk because that darn shareholder value comes back into play at all hours of the day. It is a global economy and we are closer together than we have ever been before, therefore we need more of your hours and time. I took a couple of steps back and have now moved forward back to where I was before. Now I have more manageable responsibilities and enjoy my job more than I use to. Is it exactly doing what I wish I could for a living, no it is not. I can say it does give me enough of those green pieces of paper to keep on making may way through this life. So what do I know about work, just do your thing but do not think you need to kill yourself. If you are not there for a day because you have something important that truly needs taken care of, the business is not going to go out of business because you are not there.
The final thing that I thought about last night before I finally fell asleep was back to dreams. There is a great line National Lampoons Christmas Vacation that really sums up a lot times that kind of brings me down. Clark and Ellen are lying in their bed reading discussing the upcoming Christmas visits by family and such. As the conversation goes on, Ellen tells Clark that he builds things up in his mind in a manner that the outcome will not meet his expectations. That is a general summation of what is said and not an exact quote. That is how it is for me with many things. I build them up in my mind to a point that I want them to be perfect, exciting and to have a specific outcome. Unfortunately life is not like most movies and when you raise your expectations that high you generally have disappointment. This is often for me. Again, things can be rolling along and some type of wrench ends up in the works and it all kind of comes crashing down. I do not think there is a problem with having high expectations or expecting a lot, you just have to be careful in how you handle the disappointment if it presents itself. Some of what I wish for as well is just normal experiences. Some of life’s general experiences that I should have had I have not in a long time, or never at all.
So what do I really know after all that thinking and now this writing tonight? I came to the conclusion that I really do not know anything. I came to the conclusion that no matter how much I think I know, I really do not know as much as I would like to know. There are so many different angles and topics that could be included in here as well. I am not sure it would help much if I did add them in anyways. Opinions are different and there are always going to be obstacles. As I said before I do generally believe in the good of people. I do believe that there are some special times that are going to come down the road for me. The timing will be right one day for the stars to align. At this point, I am use to disappointment the rides on my shoulder. My time will come and in some ways it is already here. In some ways it is not. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series talks about Ka, also known basically as fate for an easy definition. Ka is a wheel and is always spinning. Sometimes the wind blows calmly in your favor, sometimes you have to weather the gales that are dropping branches in the road. Sometimes it might just be right to stop and face the wind and enjoy its cool feel on your face.
Humbly written by Lee Fay on 4/23/2012