Do you travel a particular long distance route quite often? And do you
pass signs off to towns or pretty villages that you can just glimpse in
the distance and say 'One of these days why don't we just stop off there
If you're like us then you've probably never done that, because you're so focussed on getting to your destination, or driving home after a long trip that you don't want to 'waste' the time .
Well, this week we broke the mould. For the last three years of taking son back and to university, a long and tedious journey of four and a half hours, we've sped by the signs pointing to Ross-on-Wye - an ancient hillside market town on the Welsh border and invariably said 'One of these days........'
And yes, this week we did it. It was well worth the effort. Ross is a very pleasant town but our little diversion cost us dearly in purchases made in its shops!
But life has been pretty much like that as well. I've lost count of the number of times that I've thought 'One of these days, why don't we just do this... or that'? or 'Wouldn't it be nice to........?' or 'What if...?' and then carried on as usual, either unwilling to make the effort, or afraid to put the indicators on and just go for it.
I don't know whether it's fear of the unknown or just laziness. It was different when I was younger. I gave up a career in industry and we bought a shop which we ran for some years. It was done almost impulsively. We had no spare capital but it just seemed the right thing to do. We did it without stopping to think about the implications. There was a cost involved as well, but it was one that we gladly accepted.
Looking back now it scares me even to think about what we did. But that was the naivety of the young, I suppose. Now I'd want to weigh up ALL the pros and cons - and probably wouldn't have the courage to do it again.
I'm sure we're not alone in living a 'What if?' life. I'm convinced that lives generally would be so much more interesting, more fulfilled if every now and then we would grab the moment, go for it, say 'What the hell!' to wasting time or risking career or lifestyle choices - and just have the courage of our convictions.
It might be the right thing to do for your family, for your career, for your sanity. I look back and I know that one 'crazy' decision when I was 27 to jack in a career and go for it in buying that shop was a life defining moment, because it was a God-inspired moment. Life's taken a lot of twists and turns in the 23 years following, but that one diversion was a crucial one in our lives and we wouldn't want it any other way.
There are times when I wish I was young and slightly reckless again. That's the trouble with growing older, you get terribly sensible, and along with that comes a deafness to the inner prompting to get up and take that side road to a pleasant place!