One of the good things about going to school two hours away from my hometown is the ability to go home as often as I want. To be able to get away for a weekend and escape the problems at school which threaten to overwhelm me- classes, boys being stupid assholes, that annoying kid on my floor- is something I will never take for granted. Knowing that home is just a couple of hours down the highway waiting for me is comforting. Home is where the heart is, where the dog is, where the DVD collection is. Sometimes I just need to go home.
But sometimes I just need the drive. Two hours of being alone in my car, being lost in thought, listening to my favorite songs and belting them off-key at the top of my lungs.
There are those songs you dub Driving Songs, the must-haves on your highway playlist. Songs you lose your voice singing along with as you weave through traffic, making awkward eye contact with the other drivers who are having visibly worse days than you as you rock out to AWOLNATION or Katy Perry in your car. And as you sing along, drum on your steering wheel, and dance as best as you can without crashing, a sense of freedom washes over you.
I didn’t get my license until I was 17. I had terrible anxiety every time I would get behind the wheel. I always thought someone would hit me, or I would hit someone, or I’d get lost, or my car would break down on the side of a busy interstate, etc. I hated driving. And I still do. I still suffer from those anxieties most of the time I sit behind the wheel of my Sebring, but there’s something different about being out on the highway for hours with surprisingly few cars surrounding you. There’s something therapeutic about the solace that comes with being alone on the road.
Today, driving and listening to Lady Gaga’s “ARTPOP” album, I found myself thinking about the problems that I’ve been obsessing over these last couple of weeks. After replaying everything again and again in my head, I realized: I am happy. I’ve been obsessing over a minuscule issue, a minor setback in the grand scheme of life. The things I’ve been freaking out about all semester will all be completely irrelevant in a matter of weeks. And with this revelation, I’m moving forward into the future, not looking back. What’s done is done. Time to look ahead and drive on.