Things Are Looking Up?

I write this on the last full workday of 2020. Yes, I know – some of you other bloggers out there write things weeks in advance but that is just not how we roll here. When you come here you can know that freshness is guaranteed.

Anyhow, on the drive to the office this morning something really unusual happened. Maybe it is a sign of better things to come?

My office is about a seven mile drive from my home. I have made this commute for about a year and a half now. Well, except for a few months spent at home due to Covid. But while the rest of the office is essentially deserted as all staff is still working from home, I have found that I am more productive in an office where I am not surrounded by things in my personal life that I would rather be doing. But I digress.

My commute consists of a little bit of everything. There are four traffic lights, surface streets ranging from neighborhood to busy artery and even some interstate highway. There are also multiple other places that require some kind of traffic control, whether it be a stop sign or a traffic circle (which we call roundabouts herabouts). So what happened this morning? I made the entire seven mile commute without stopping one. single. time. From the time I backed out of my driveway until I pulled into my preferred parking place my car kept on a-rolling. And not the artful kind of “not stopping” where a guy can creep six feet over the 45 seconds until a light turns green. This was an honest-to-goodness roll where I hit every light on the green and where no other traffic required me to slow my roll. Which may not have happened even once before during my time here.

My previous commute was one mile and two traffic lights, and I almost never hit both of them on the green, so it was a thrill on those rare occasions when I got lucky enough for it to happen. But with the current commute, such a thing has never happened on a weekend, let alone on a weekday.

Perhaps the secret to happiness is low expectations, so maybe this is why a non-stop commute on a particular day makes me happy. And perhaps this little act of being happy from something small will jumpstart an improved attitude for 2021.

Or maybe I just need to remember the real lesson of the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day Week Month Year of 2020 – despite all of the hubris of modern mankind, we are not actually in charge of everything. When my children were younger I used to give them this advice: Only worry about the things you can control. If you have no control over something and it is going to happen no matter what, there is no sense in worrying about it. We only need worry if we are not doing what we can to respond in the best way.

I should do a better job of keeping this bit of advice myself. 2021 is going to be 1) better than, 2) worse than, or 3) about the same as 2020 – this is one prediction you can take to the bank! Acts of nature, acts of government or acts of those around me are things I cannot control. What I can control is how I respond to those things. So I am going to try hard to appreciate the little unexpected good things that may cross my path in 2021 and to spend my worry time on how to make the best use of my time and resources. And if on January 4th I have another “no-stop” commute I may come back and call it an omen for a great new year. Or more likely, I will simply appreciate my good fortune and extend some good humor and generosity to those around me. Which should make for a pretty good 2021.

Artwork credit: free no-attribution image from Pixabay

11 thoughts on “Things Are Looking Up?

  1. We get a clear run to Church very infrequently, there’s 3 lights and ones an advanced green for the opposite direction.
    I’m hoping 2021 will be better, or at least simpler to navigate.


  2. It’s certainly sound advice not to trouble ourselves about things we can’t control. The hard part is sticking to it.

    Your tour de on-course as an omen is surely a limbo-low expectation, but if it works for you—great! I’m just hoping there are no traffic jams on Monday; otherwise you’ll have to do some deep rethinking.

    By the way, “Alexander and His Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day” was one of our favorites when our girls were young. Nice little memorabilia there.

    Hope this is a healthier, kinder year for us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your optimism is very appreciated in comparison to the pessimism I keep encountering. We had an ice storm Thursday night into Friday morning. Some said that was an appropriate way to end 2020; however, my wife said that was a horrible way to start 2021. Subsequent to the ice storm, two coworkers had trees fall, one of whom had the tree land on his building full of classic cars. As one said “2021 has already flipped me the bird.”.

    So I shall remain optimistic despite those around me. It’s as you say…if I can’t control it, I don’t worry about it. May you have a great 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My mother was a wonderful dispenser of advice, welcome or not and heeded or not (though in later years I have come to believe it was all good advice and now I abide by it). Mom also told me that if something didn’t happen that I wanted to happen, then it wasn’t meant to be and there was nothing I could do about it. All the wishing that we do for 2021 to be normal is good, but sadly we will take baby steps to get back to the normal routines and lives we took for granted before COVID-19. It is therefore those little joys in our life that sustain us … a streamlined commute, no ice and snow for a carefree walk. May we never take those little blessings for granted. Happy New Year JP.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Solid attitude, J P. I think so much stress is brought on by the things we can’t control by ourselves. Not that it’s easy to therefore ignore those things… Love the stop-free commute as a sign of good things to come in 2021. My own commute to the interstate included ONE traffic light over ten miles when we first moved to this area fifteen years ago. Growth and demand has added another EIGHT traffic lights over the same distance. Every once in a great while I get a stop-free commute. I get it – it’s a great, unexpected boost of energy.

    Liked by 1 person

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