Walk With a Purpose

sign

I like this quote even more now that I understand how to interpret it.

When I was 21, I went to New York City for a Technical Communication conference. As I walked through Central Park at dusk toward my hotel, I became acutely aware of some rather shady characters following me. I realized at that moment my desire to see everything I possibly could in this new fantastic city might have well been tempered with a bit more caution. The words “walk with a purpose” echoed in my brain. I held my head high, eyes forward, and picked up my pace with the strength of a soldier marching into battle. I caught up to a group of strangers heading the same direction and stayed close behind until I reached 72nd Avenue and familiar ground.

That day I learned something. I am not invincible, but I do have power…and drive. And I never wanted to be afraid to try. I was a pretty fearless kid, and now as an adult, I didn’t want that to change. That’s not to say I wouldn’t or shouldn’t apply a bit of caution at times…but not too much. If I wanted to see life….then I needed to go see it. If I wanted to learn something…then I needed to learn it. If I wanted to go somewhere or do something…even if there was some inherent risk…then I needed to do it. Sometimes this philosophy has cost me a heavy price. But what has kept me running full speed down this path is my consistent motivation to move in a positive direction …toward helping and loving others and the world…all the time. It makes the price of the effort always, always worth it.  But just walking with purpose has never been enough for me…I’ve felt compelled to walk it as fast as I possibly can. Hence, the pictured quote above.

Our life on this Earth is pretty short. As I reach my midline in years, this becomes more and more apparent. If I’m honest with myself, this “risk-taking, go full throttle” philosophy of life has made me pretty tired. On the plus side, I can’t look back and say I haven’t walked, often run, without purpose…and for that I’m grateful. But, now, what to do about the bags under my eyes?

Lately, I’ve started to slow down (I’ve named it failure) and it’s been forcing me to rethink my philosophy. Do I really need to push myself this hard? Is that what “walking with a purpose” really means? I keep coming to the same conclusion. Yes. Until there is no more purpose – until I come to a different understanding of the meaning of life—then I’m in for another tiring 50+ years or however long I last at this pace!

That is, until today.

Today, some 27 years since my New York City adventure, I found myself on another business trip–in the opposite direction—Tacoma, Washington. On the airplane, I sat by an older couple (who held hands during the flight) and needed wheelchair assistance at the gate. The wife told me they lived in Portland and needed to make a connecting flight. But, alas, our flight was 30 minutes late and when we landed it didn’t seem promising they would make it. I thought to myself, “I’ll jump up and tell everyone to sit down and to let them out first so they can make their flight. Then, I’ll alert the flight attendants about the wheelchairs.” As the seat belt signal pinged off and the plane parked, everyone stood up and started disemboweling the plane. The flight attendant announced, “Those waiting for wheelchairs can just sit tight. The chairs haven’t arrived at the gate yet.” I looked at her and said, “I’m sorry. I’m not sure if you’ll make your flight.” She shrugged and said, “That’s ok. You can only move as fast as you can move.”

Whoa.

You can only move as fast as you can move.

I’m not 21 anymore. I’m not a lot of things I was anymore. I can only move as fast as I can move. Sometimes that’s pretty fast. But some days….it just isn’t.

So, my picture quote above isn’t exactly wrong. It still means something to me. I’m still going to push myself and walk with a purpose. What’s different now is the “ability” I’m measuring needs to be based on my ability today and today only. Tomorrow I’ll have a new ability level to judge myself by and it might be better than today…or not.

Sometimes walking with a purpose looks like sitting and waiting.

Thank you my profound Portlander!

Ode to the Cranberry Crush

crush

Queen of the Road in the Cranberry Crush. Six wheels and a spare. Sweet freedom!

It has been a long dry spell without four wheels (see post on Hurricane Wilma). Two wheels I’ve always had and will always cherish. Now I guess you could say I have six wheels and a spare. I’ve been dreaming about the day I would get a car of my very own and my dream was big. Not just any car — my dream car — a Toyota Tacoma Off-Road Sport truck with an access cab.  One that had enough room for a couple of bikes in the bed and maybe a kayak. It was a great dream.

This July 30 that dream became a reality when I leased my new baby, which I lovingly call the Cranberry Crush. And, I haven’t looked back.  The Crush and I have traveled 4,700 miles together already.

The Crush makes me smile every day. I think because it isn’t just a car. It is freedom! When I took my mother-in-law for her inaugural ride in the Crush, I was beaming.  I told her how I was free to go anywhere now.  I could go to the grocery store anytime I wanted. I told her how I could leave for work when I wanted. I told her how I could carry my bicycle and ride off into the mountains. I told her to look in the back and notice how the access cab was big enough to carry suitcases, but not really big enough to carry extra people and that is just how I wanted it. The Crush was built for me and one other person of my choosing and today that was her.

As our joyride continued and we were at a stoplight, she cut off my freedom speech and looked me in the eye. She said in her most serious voice, “Trish, remember, you still have a family.” We laughed. I must have worried her just a tad with my adrenaline-pumped monologue. I assured her I wouldn’t forget. The Cranberry Crush isn’t a replacement for family–it is a new member. Just don’t ask to borrow the keys…I’m not quite ready to share yet.

Sorry boys! My truck is called the Cranberry Crush. Too girly sounding for you to drive, but tough enough to get through anything.

Sorry, boys! My truck is called the Cranberry Crush…too girly sounding for you to drive, but tough enough to get through anything.