This year has been one of the most eventful and memorable years of my life! My family and I have gone through a lot the past few years, and I realize now how necessary all of those experiences were in order for me to grow. This year’s trip to SuperZoo at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas was one that I’ll never forget.
From the very start, it was an adventure full of challenges. Our rental car reservation fell through the very last minute due to a policy change regarding debit cards. That happened the day we were scheduled to pick the van up. Seriously? Yes, seriously.
Our plan was to drive the rental out to Vegas with a couple of stops along the way. Then drop off the rental at the airport so we can all fly home together. Because we no longer had a rental to drive out and leave at the airport, I had no choice but to drive our “work horse” there and back. We cancelled my plane ticket, and the girls flew back while I drove home alone. It was… difficult. 🙂
On the way to Las Vegas, we made a stop in Phoenix, AZ to visit my wife’s family. It was so nice to see my in-laws doing so well. But just before we got there, our car engine started giving us problems in New Mexico. I didn’t think we were going to make it the rest of the way. The engine was screaming at us, and we couldn’t get our car to go more than 45mph.
We were crawling along the desert highway with no AC, and our daughers were miserable! We stopped often so that they wouldn’t overheat. It was a very unpleasant situation, and I remember feeling so bad that I had put my family in another tough situation. I asked myself several times, “Why am I doing this?”
When we finally arrived in Las Vegas, I felt a wave of relief! We made it!!! Everyone was smiling and happy 🙂 It was worth every sacrifice:
After the show I dropped the girls off at the airport, kissed my wife goodbye, and started on the most epic road trip I’ve ever been on in my entire life! Everytime I would start the car the engine would scream for about an hour. Other cars would look at me as they passed by. The engine would overheat so I would blast the heater as I drove with the windows down. Sometimes on a downhill slope I could get the car to go about 60mph, depending on how steep the slope was. But for most of the way, I had to push down hard in order to keep the car going at 35mph. At times I thought the nightmare would never end. But it is very true that with every difficulty comes the seed of an equal or greater opportunity, like Napoleon Hill would say.
2 Lessons I Learned From the Road:
- Don’t forget to turn your blinkers on: When I would forget to turn my emergency lights on, other cars and trucks would honk at me and get upset. But as soon as I would turn my blinkers on, they had no problem working around me. Many people were even very helpful at the rest stops.The lesson is, people are more than willing to work with you and help you as long as you let them know something’s wrong. It’s when we don’t “turn our blinkers on,” and act like everything’s alright, that’s when people get annoyed with us.
- Life is a roadtrip – not a race: Even though I was having car trouble, and the fastest I could go was about 40mph, I still felt a sting whenever an older car would pass me. Especially when an older lady driving a very old minivan zipped by me like it was a Ferrari, I remember asking myself, “Why is this bothering me so much??! I’m in no position to race anyone!” That’s when it hit me. Why do I bother racing anyone, ever? Even if I could keep up with them, why bother? We may be sharing the same stretch of highway at the moment, but we have different destinations. I have no idea where they’re headed and vice-versa. Why compare? Why compete? It’s as productive as racing a stranger on the highway.
Life is not a Race. It’s a Roadtrip!
There’s no point in comparing or competing because we’re all on a roadtrip, not a race! Let’s say I passed that lady in the minivan. No, better yet I dusted her! Left her in the trail of my smoke! Then she got off the next exit because she’s almost home. What was the point in that?? Sometimes I feel like the way we compete and compare ourselves to others in business or school is very much like racing someone on a roadtrip. There’s no need to compete or compare. All we have to do is keep creating our own personal happiness.
“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama