Putting The Brakes On


As the holiday cards roll in, and the enclosed letters, it reminds me more and more how much I have changed and how different I am from so many people. Contemplating my life during my meditation today, I couldn’t help agree that youth is indeed wasted on the young. It’s only now that I seem to have the ability to remotely peer into the depth of my soul and have a glimmer of what I might want from this life.

In my younger years, I blasted through life and its critical junctures, like one of those crazy Chinese super sonic trains that travel at lightning speeds. I imagine the commuters that sit within them who might dare to look out, only seeing a blur of scenery fly by at any given moment: flashes of color with no discernible lines separating objects one from another.

Such is my past it seems. A blur of memories and decisions. Ones made without much thought to slow the train down to decide which track might be best to travel upon and certainly not like the trains of old chugging along slowly enough to get one’s bearings.

Husbands came and went. Jobs and more moves, enough to make one dizzy. Always this underlying sense of discontent, that just around the next bend might lie the answer to joy or inner peace.

My journey has been up and down following a path to the highest mountaintops and then into the lowest valleys of despair as I rode this churning rail car that never slowed down.

And now, as I’m finally coming closer to the final stages of my journey, and wisdom has come in bits and pieces…I finally see that I am really the conductor after all. I’m not sure if those new fangled trains have a caboose, but they must be steered somehow, by someone none-the-less. So the time has come to put the brakes on and slow life down.

I’ve learned surprising and valuable things about myself; things I inherently knew, but maybe were just confirmed. A personality test confirmed that I am in the 1% (INFJ) of the population. The literature describing this personality type was so affirming of many things I knew about myself but could never put my figure on. (If only I could send it to all my ex’s!).

I’m learning that being a racing freight train is not healthy or good, and I ended up making poor decisions my whole life because of it. But I also understand better now why I did it. And I forgive myself.

The most important thing is to figure out how to live the next years better. How to stand at a cross-road and make the right choice? How to decide when it’s right to leave something or someone? When it’s right to start something new? And simply not to be rash when doing anything.

While it’s true I will never be your typical person, I still have a lot more growing to do and even a longer road to joy. Someday that old train will pull into some station and I will simply step off, walk towards the horizon and never look back.

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