A few weeks ago, I was driving back from Troy and was passed by a truck with about a dozen crushed cars on its bed. I thought about how at some point in time, those cars made someone excited as they sat on a lot somewhere...bright, shiny, and expensive. They might have once sported a bright red ribbon on Christmas morning, or carried friends along as they "went riding around" singing to the vocal stylings of hair bands...or transported newly graduated teenagers to college.
Seeing these with their sad little crushed bodies did remind me, though, that time changes all. Perhaps the same model year cars are being lovingly restored in a garage somewhere else in the country, or are kept covered in an old barn because someone can't part with it and the memories that it holds.
Sadly, people age, traditions are forgotten, styles change, and technology brings obsolescence. It is just part of the circle of life. Kids grow up, graduate, marry, and become parents. Parents raise, pray, manage, and try to retain a vestige of the kids they once were...even if it is ridiculous. I see this as one of the sole purposes of spandex in this life.
Holding on explains why some of the acts we were rocking out to twenty-five years ago are still on the road today and why we will pay an exhorbitant sum of money to see them do so. It also explains why "cougars" are still on the prowl and why the cosmetic surgery industry is thriving.
Sometimes people feel a bit like one of those cars on the truck today. Like they've outlived their usefulness in a couple areas of life. I won't delve into that deep well because it is impossible to understand anyway. Why it is that some people are valued and appreciated, and others are used up and sold for scrap? Sometimes we think that we are valuable and ready to roll...and we find that we're rolling all right...on the top of a truck.
So, here are a few things I'd like to say as I roll down the highway of life. In many ways, I'm still bright and shiny...but in a few ways I would REALLY like to reverse the odometer.
1. If you ever say "I'll never do that..." prepare to be surprised. Even if you don't succumb, you'll be presented with the opportunity to eat your words. Sometimes this happens through your children...
2. Speaking of eating...you may as well face the fact that at some point in time...you'll have to watch what you eat. If you are used to being able to say "yes!" with gusto when the dessert cart is rolled around, you may find that you may need a cart to move around if you don't put down the fork.
3. Eye color is generally unchangeable - although it can be done with the help of contact lenses. Hair color - or its existence - is endlessly changing.
4. There are some things that you'll be able to do with virtually no effort. There are some things that you can take lessons for, try repeatedly, and still fail at miserably. Try to appreciate your gifts. The very thing you take for granted may be something that someone else appreciates immensely. Your gifts are meant to bring you and those around you joy in this life.
5. Be kind. The older you get, the more you're going to appreciate nice people. Plus, you will also have less patience...so being kind may help people give you the benefit of the doubt.
6. Quit worrying. After all...you've made it this far. Life is going to turn out the way it is meant to turn out. You should strive to do your best, but you should also understand that sometimes the most colossal failures lead to something quite awesome. You just have to look for the silver lining. It's there. Somewhere.
7. Let it go. So you didn't get the cards you wanted, the life you expected, or the dreams you followed fulfilled. Your dreams are just the starting point. So, something went horribly wrong? Regroup and march forward. Seriously...it's time.
8. As long as you are breathing...there's still a purpose for your life. That also goes for everybody else. Even those people who drive you absolutely nuts.
9. You have to enjoy life. The occasional Little Debbie or a weekend away from home is mandatory. Everyone needs something to look forward to...
10. Look back and smile...look forward and hope...look around...and love.