When you live in a small town that is way outside any large city, there is always the issue of extended travel time. In order to get anything, from a gallon of milk to a new blouse, there will at least be 30 minutes of driving. In my case, even then, the closest town only hosts a Wal-Mart, a couple gas stations and a McDonalds.
When you live in a big city, extended travel time is almost non-existent. You could literally walk to the nearest convenient store and drive only 5 minutes to get to the mall. Everything you could possibly need is at your fingertips.
Not too long ago I found myself needing some hustle and bustle. My fiancé was out of town working and the rest of the population seemed to have their Saturday planned and full of watching college football. So, I loaded up my car, filled up the tank and prepared for an hour drive to the mall. I couldn’t help but feel annoyed and bitter at the idea that although all I needed was a few hours to get out of the house and move around, this was going to be an all day trip. I got up as early as possible in the hopes of making it home before noon. “Remember the days of spending an hour in the morning at a coffee shop, a few hours at Barnes and Noble and making it home before lunch?” I asked myself.
I turned on my Spotify and headed north. As I was looking out the window, the trees were showing their fall outfits and the sun was shining, displaying tired tractor silhouettes against far off hills where white fences lined up, down and across dying grass. A Cardinal was even perched on the power lines, talking to me. Seriously, it was like one of those cheesy Rockwell Paintings. But it was beautiful. I pulled over to take a picture.
My mood quickly changed from bitterness to bittersweet. All morning I was complaining to myself about how stupid it was that I couldn’t have a quick morning of shopping; how I had to literally plan a whole day around one small task. I huffed and puffed about how I wish I could have everything at my fingertips the way I used to when I lived in the city. Then I realized – I do have everything at my fingertips. Right now, in this moment.
I got back into my car and decided that instead of going to the mall, I was going to spend that hour driving around the old forgotten roads that intertwine between farms and connect all of the little town that make up this community. And I did. I passed old barns and new barns. I let a dog chase my Malibu down a gravel road that came to a bent stop sign. I drove up hills, passed bean farms and horses chewing on hay bales. I took pictures and smiled more than I had all morning.
I thought about how the universe was telling me to slow down and be grateful that morning. It was urging me to open my mind, and my windows, to allow other types of pleasure enter my head. Sure, I was excited about browsing through shoe racks and sifting through the book store, and I am sure that I will have a day, and probably more, where I cannot be slowed down and I will drive hatefully to the mall parking lot and spend the day buying fabulous new things.
But not that day. That day, I relished in the chic-ness of where I lived and gave gratitude to the slow, simple life I lead right now.
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