A Beautiful View
Drive within your headlights.
About one month into the social distancing mandates, I was listening to a podcast and was struck by these words a chef used to explain how he was handling the “new normal” of leading his team to create carryout fare instead of gourmet, multicourse cuisine. He compared his daily tasks to how his dad taught him to drive in severe weather, be it a blizzard or a torrential downpour. Learn from the lessons behind you (say, where the brake pedal is; how to negotiate with your landlord) and look forward to the future (reaching the destination; opening the dining room for service once again).
But with those thoughts in mind, attempt to be as much in the moment as you can. Tackle what you see lit up in your headlights, then do that again. And again. And all of a sudden, you’ll be home.
This relates really well to something I had been attempting to practice earlier in 2020 pre-coronavirus. While I’ve gotten better in my 30s at not ruminating so much about little mistakes made in the past, I often found myself leaping ahead and dreaming about the next “carrot.” That next vacation. The nice dinner out on Saturday. That night when I’ll finally decide it’s occasion enough to open that special bottle of wine I’ve been saving.
This can pop up in small, subtle ways too. In conversations, we are often thinking about what we’re going to say next instead of fully, actively listening to the words coming out of the other person’s heart and mouth.
What I missed, though, with this future-focused mindset, was the now. So I had declared “wonder” my word of 2020 to try to inspire me to find the awe-inspiring moments of each day. Come to find out, that strategy works pretty well in times of chaos or upset as well.
Whatever challenges you encounter, focus on one day and task at a time. Feel exactly everything you need to feel along the way. Then all of a sudden, you’re conquering some tough things without feeling so overwhelmed.
The world moves fast and life is preciously short. Living in the present can help slow down time and make little moments more educational, memorable, meaningful and beautiful.
I’m fascinated to see where we’ll be when this issue arrives in your hands. For now, though, I’ll be focusing on enjoying the view in my headlights—and opening that bottle of wine.
Karla Walsh is a freelance writer, restaurant brand manager and spin instructor. Follow along with her on her most recent drives within the headlights on Instagram @karlawalsh, and feel free to contact her at email@example.com.