Sunday, October 13, 2013

Running Out of Gas Doesn't Mean the End of Your Journey

Early on, I wrote about being sidelined on your road trip in the post Broken Down on the Side of the Road. And, while there are many things that can (and will) derail your expedition for an extended amount of time, there are also some minor bumps in the road that will probably arise. I’m sure it’s not as common as it once was, but running out of gas is a real possibility when you drive for any length of time. With all the new technology in cars, it’s a little easier to keep up with how much gas you have remaining, but people still find ways to run out, trust me. I mean, haven’t you ever seen those poor souls walking along the side of the road with their little red gas cans? I know I have. 

I’ve discovered that running low— or out— of gas can happen in my figurative journey, as well. Just this past week, I celebrated my two year anniversary in WW. Now I can tell you for a fact that, over the course of those two years, there were many times where I either ran completely out of gas or was simply running on fumes. So I did what anyone else would have when the gauge approached “E”...I stopped to refuel. You can’t just keep driving full speed ahead and not expect to run down along the way. It’s best to stop every so often, get out of the car and stretch your legs. If you don’t do that, you may find yourself more permanently sidelined. Once fatigue sets in, that’s when accidents happen. If I let my mind wander, I stop paying attention to what I’m doing and that’s when I mess up. But, stopping to refuel gives me the opportunity to make sure my vehicle has what it needs to continue on, and so do I. 

I also think about when I’m driving to Atlanta, I always race against myself. If it takes me 9 hours and 15 minutes one time, the next, I would really like to make around 9 hours. Now, of course, all traffic laws must be obeyed, but I know that those few extra little stops along the way actually work in my favor. The extra strong coffee from Starbucks or the cold water splash on my face at the Florida-Georgia Line all help me achieve that goal of beating my previous time. I can hear your skepticism now, “how does more stops equate to a better travel time?” It’s simple, doing little things along the way to keep you moving forward and also reduces down-time if you require longer stops to combat your fatigue. 

Everything about this journey is about continuing to move forward, and sometimes we do have to move sideways or even backwards to keep going in the right direction. So don’t let yourself run out of gas. Keep one eye on the gauge and the other on the road ahead of you. When you feel it’s time to stop and gas up, don’t talk yourself out of it. Nobody can carry on a crazy, super-human pace without the proper amount—and type—of fuel.