It was in the Kervan Palace Turkish Restaurant in downtown Glasgow that I realized how lost a man (or woman) could get. I realized just how easy it was for people to get so enveloped in their ‘issues’ that they tended to neglect the world around them. They did not see that the elements of the universe just kept going on and on and on despite their woes.
Damn the universe!
Can you not see that a man is suffering? Can you not see that losing his girlfriend to his best pal and missing the bus to his new job interview because he was finding out about the loss is an unfair move? Can you not see that denying her access to the internet minutes before she hands in her final assessment could be regarded as plain cruel?
Anyway, that is just to let you know that you can be unfair. Back to my epiphany.
I realized in that restaurant (and in the car as we struggled along the M8 into the city earlier) that i, and human race, waste a whole lot of time being pushed around by things we cannot control. We get flustered. We lose hair. We palpitate. We don’t even eat sometimes.
It gets so bad that we do not eat!
The road trip into the heart and the highlands of Scotland taught me something. There are things you cannot do ANYTHING about!
Eight people drove for 48 hours in 72 hours in two cars with one thing in mind; EXPLORE SCOTLAND. Over 3,200 miles of road was covered. In three days those eight people got only 12 hours of sleep. They spent over 570 pounds on fuel and realized just how bland the meals served in 10 different rest stops along the way could get.
The eight people journeyed from Cardiff to Edinburgh to Inverness. They got lost in their quest along the Loch Ness trail and ‘pretended’ to see the monster. They grudgingly and eventually settled for some good food and free wifi in a restaurant in Portree and walked quite a few miles to discover the breathtaking Fairy Pools near Carbost, a village on the south shore of Loch Harport on the Isle of Skye. Those same eight people travelled long nights and sung songs in Hindi and ‘Twi’ (Ghanaian language) as they sought refuge in Loch Lomond.
Those eight people ended up, however, with one thing. MEMORIES. Memories that will last a lifetime.
Those eight people chose to enjoy themselves silly. They chose to bond with each other. They chose to do the ‘Macarena’ in the backseat of a vehicle guided by the power (or lack thereof) of Google Maps. They chose to tell each other the stories of their families and friends in countries so identical they could be siblings. They chose to smile through the pain of not peeing for hours because the drivers of the cars they sat in needed ‘spotters’ of speed cameras.
The point here is this. In life, there is only so much you can do about the things that happen around you. There is no point getting messed up about those things you can do nothing about. You cannot control the steering wheel of the car approaching in the other lane at breakneck speed. You cannot control the algorithms that feed your phone with GPS coordinates and leave you miles from your destination. You just cannot.
What you can change is your attitude to these things.
Like the eight road trip junkies, you can allow the beauty of the Fairy Pools to dazzle you and inspire you to write poems. You can allow the snow-capped mountains on the Isle of Skye to amaze you and get you screaming like a 5-year old. You can drive an automatic car for the first time in your life in a foreign country. You can fall on your bum and laugh out loud about it as tens of strangers walk past. You can even learn to say “I love you” in Bengali (Ami tomaye bhalobashi).
Get focused. You know what you can control.
Get your bearings right!