Christmastime in the subarctic.
Yesterday morning we packed up our car and started the drive to my in-laws. We worked through Christmas Eve and spent Christmas and Boxing Day with family in Edmonton, then onto my husband’s family house in Saskatchewan to spend time together through New Year’s.
We joke about the drive because they live off the TransCanada Highway and it is only three turns to get to the highway from our condo.
The directions usually go something like this:
Right out of the parking garage, left on Jasper, right on 16 East…drive for 8 hours and then take a left.
We left in +2 weather and drove into a cold, -15 degree mess of freezing rain and blowing snow just a few hours later.
I was driving as we entered the weather and my death grip on the steering wheel was fierce.
After pulling over, nearly driving into the ditch while trying to avoid the semi behind me and having a few tears leak out of my eyes, we swapped drivers.
About 10 years ago I was involved in an accident that came out of nowhere and I still don’t know what happened – my memory has a blank spot from when the accident happened. Since that day, driving is a chore for me because I am constantly on the lookout for what may be coming my way that I don’t see. Add in blowing snow, icy conditions and semi trucks and the adrenaline starts running through my veins.
The drive is supposed to take 8-9 hours, it took us nearly 12.
Sometimes life demands you go slow. Getting to the destination first is not the goal. I often try to race people, get there first, and ‘win‘. Life isn’t about finishing everything first, it is about the process of doing the next thing and who you travel with. How often I forget this!
Even though it is serious, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. To keep things interesting, we intermittently put on the flashers and chatted about life while I was on deer watch. Jon told me to yell, ‘Mr. Popolopolous!‘ if I saw a deer because he liked the name I gave my inappropriate algebra teacher in my book.
Brighter isn’t always better. Throwing on the brights only made it harder to see the road. Over focussing on your immediate problem means you can’t see what else is coming. Being myopic about what is going bad rather than choosing to look forward and see what you are going through only leads to discouragement.
Be purposeful about knowing where you’re going. Whenever a semi passed us going west, we were enveloped in a complete whiteout for what seemed like an eternity. We had to trust our plan, the signs that let us know when the road curved and each other. Keeping calm and staying the course is important when you lose sight of what is next. Keep moving in the direction you know you should go, even if it feels strange.
Life is interesting. Take time to slow down and enjoy the people you have with you on your journey. How you go and who you go with is important.
- Choose to go through life in an amazing way, even if you can’t see what is next.
Oh and make sure to pack your epic, long down winter coat…even if it seems ridiculous when you’re in the +2 weather. When you encounter the -48 with windchill, you’ll wish you were ridiculous the day before.