My parents have a longish driveway…it’s about 1/10 of a mile. We moved there when I was nine and I can honestly say that when I think of being home, I think of the driveway. Whenever the house got too overwhelming, whenever I fought with anyone or got upset, I would go outside and either play or walk on the driveway. I used it my entire life as a tool. I gave myself 1/10 of a mile to get over it. And if 1/10 of a mile wasn’t enough? I turned around and went again.
As a youngin, I had this tiny little Honda motorcycle. It was old and it was small and though I think I was sharing it with my siblings, I very much felt like it was mine. I remember riding this things up and down the driveway for what felt like hours. I would go as fast as I could down the home stretch and then ease off the gas and let it coast to the very edge of our property, whipping around to do the same thing back toward the house.
When I was a little older, maybe middle school, we got a fancy four-wheeler. It felt bigger, more official and definitely more powerful. I would ride it the length of the driveway with this intense motorcycle helmet on (that my mom totally made me wear). And I would race back toward the house and instead of turning around, I would take it back through the fields and on trails, only to finish with one last race down the driveway.
Older still, I got my license, and then access to a car. (Sidenote…The day I was going to get my permit was the worst day of my life: I backed my mother’s Subaru through the garage door and into my father’s brand new Mercedes. I have nothing else to say about this.)
With a fresh license, every day I left my house was like starting a new adventure, even though I was going to the same high school each day with the same people in my car. I would turn my keys, fly out the driveway and feel like anything was possible. And each night, when I was probably pushing the 11:00 curfew much too hard, I would fly in the driveway as fast as I left…racing to the very dark house where everyone was asleep so I could wake my mom up in time to not get in trouble.
Then college. I only lived at home during the summer, and I spent every morning on that freaking driveway, training my little (let’s be honest…on the larger side) butt off for the upcoming fall soccer season. I would step out on the front porch at 5:00 in the morning, the humidity already thick in the air. I would roll my eyes, voice a complaint, and march out to the end of the driveway with a water bottle and a piece of chalk in my hand. I would step off 10 yards, 20 yards, 40 yards, 80 yards, and 100 yards. And then I would run. And run. And run. It was the worst, but also the best.
And then I moved. To Africa. And I had a driveway that was 1/10 of a mile long. And I ran on it, and walked on it. Every.single.day.
And then I moved again. To Denver. And now I don’t have a driveway. On the hardest of days, I lay in my bed and close my eyes and picture myself walking down the driveway. I try to give myself 1/10 of a mile to get over things. I try to keep my eyes closed until I’m over it.
Today was a hard day. It’s May 12th and it snowed four inches this morning. It was destined to suck from the second I woke up. My bad attitude followed me like a cloud the whole day and I was visualizing the driveway before noon. As I take each imaginary step, I tell myself how much I like my life in Denver, how valuable my relationships are here, how much better the weather [usually] is…the list goes on. I’m glad to say that I could snap myself out of it, but not without a little self-imposed psycho-therapy.
Do you have a mental driveway? I would love to hear about it because I might walk this one ragged in my head and need a replacement.