As soon as I earned the right to drive, I jumped into my red Volkswagen Beetle and took off full speed ahead. I sped down the rough gravel roads with a billowing cloud of dust in my trail, and I flew down the paved highways into town leaving a trail of yellow and white lines. The world seemed big and open; I felt like I could go absolutely anywhere. I could never replace the feeling that I had driving all alone for the first time.
Since turning sixteen and gaining a bit more experience with the responsibilities of driving, it has lost some of its glamour. The realities of stop lights, flat tires, police officers, and gas prices have made themselves present. It is very comparable to growing up. Upon entering high school as a freshmen, the school seems huge and full of curiosities; college seems very distant; the only important things are friends, algebra II, and getting to every football game.
However, as you grow older, and senior year arrives the school begins to feel small and claustrophobic; college looms over your head; important decisions about the future move to the top of your priority list. In my case, the decision to run for state office became my number one concern. Life goes from flippant and undefined to serious and structured. Sometimes a bright red stop sign halts your journey. Sometimes a police officer appears out of thin air and impedes your progress. Sometimes a flat tire causes you to stop on the side of the road. Sometimes the financial burden of driving causes you to be more selective about where you drive your car.
My life has been full of surprises, blessings, and frustrations, and through it all there has always been one place I could go to clear my head—my car. The place where I feel perfectly content is driving down the road, windows and sun roof open, radio blaring, and miles of blue sky and corn fields stretched out in front of me. This tiny haven away from all the turmoil of life relieves my stress because of its openness and rapidity.
When I feel like all the doors are closed, and my window of opportunity is shrinking; the rolled down windows in my car reveal the endless big blue sky above me—new chances revealed every day. When I feel like I’m not moving forward fast enough the wind blowing through my window makes me feel like I’m flying toward the future. Where do you feel most home? Where do you go to clear your head—to relax and refuel? In our lives today the value of individual reflection is often lost, even though it is infinitely valuable. When the unexpected happens, when things become unbearable, when you have only yourself for support, find a place to call your own, go there, and find yourself.
From the State Officer House with Love,
2015-2016 Indiana State FFA Secretary