What to do when you find yourself skidding

There are parts of my story I wish I could forget. Parts that still make me cringe, all these years later. Parts that just happened I might have avoided, only I never saw them coming because I was looking the other way for a moment too long. 

My life is like the Midwest in the summertime. One minute I’m on a wide road and easy path, minding my own business and enjoying the scenery; the next minute I’m taking a detour around orange-striped construction barrels leading me down gravel roads and questionable alleys.

I wish I always knew what was coming next. It would be nice if my life came with those giant message boards foretelling of detours and delays up ahead. I could have avoided a lot of dents and dings on my journey to here, if only there had been a couple of well-placed warnings back there.

I wish I knew what was in store down the road, but I don’t. In real life, you don’t know the road is ending until you are right there and the pavement is gone and there isn’t a single gas station in sight. You don’t know the road has been flooded until you start driving through water that gets deeper and deeper until your tires lose traction and you find yourself skidding and trying to remember what to do when you find yourself skidding.

In real life, you aren’t warned of potential deer crossing or lane merges or work zones or falling rock. You just have to keep on driving with both eyes open and the radio tuned into your favorite station, enjoying the ride as much as you can even when you make a wrong turn and you’ve run out of coffee and the GPS tries to reroute you when there’s no other way you can go.

But, if I’m honest, would it have really mattered? Would I have paid any more attention to those would-be warning signs than to the signs I pass every day on my way into work? You know what I’m talking about. Those signs that say buckle up, don’t text, work zone ahead, and yada-yada-yada. We know, we know already, and I am buckled up and I would never text and drive; but oh, darn, I just spilled coffee on my dry-clean only skirt and I wonder if I can reach the napkins in my glove compartment without unbuckling?

I think you can see where I’m going. Even if I couldn’t.

Life has been full of the unexpected. Little bumps in the road that left me frustrated, lengthy detours that left me confused, and a few major crashes that banged me up and left me out of alignment for quite a while afterward.

It’s all there, part of me and my story, for better or for worse, until I reach the end of my journey.

And I’m not there yet.


One Reply to “What to do when you find yourself skidding”

  1. Excellent analogy comparing driving with life. But truth lies in your words as well. This blog sent me back for another reading of \”Not Even the Russians.\”A writer walks a fine line between revealing personal experience while not laying bare all the sordid details. You perform that balancing act masterfully.


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