Friday, August 21, 2015

life is an adventure [lessons learned from #inthecarwithKat]

"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered."
-G.K. Chesterton

In January, I was told that I would not be able to drive for six months. One of my friends asked me why I wasn't freaking out more about this. I simply said that there was nothing I could do about it, so I wanted to focus on the positive and make the most of the experience. When I had my neurosurgery back in August 2014, I had no idea what would be the implications of recovery. I chose to be grateful for the hard moments and treat them as strength-building for myself as well as an opportunity to encourage others.

I was commenting to my friend, Estuardo, about how fun it was for me to get to know different people as they gave me rides. He suggested that I create a podcast called "In the Car with Kat." I ended up just turning it into a hashtag series of photos on Instagram.

Here are some of the lessons I learned from #inthecarwithKat:

1) Most people are willing to help, but we are just too afraid to ask. Most of my life I was hesitant to ask people for favors; I never wanted to inconvenience anyone. But I quickly learned that if I wanted to get anywhere, I would need to ask for rides from people. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to get to where I needed to go without asking too many people. Some people went completely out of their way to pick me up or drop me off--thank you so much! I only took a cab twice (once out of sheer laziness, and once because of poor planning). I have yet to use Uber.

2) I used to spend way too much time shopping or running errands. I realized that the things that I thought I "urgently needed" could actually wait. Usually it didn't seem worth asking for a ride.

3) Be careful as you choose a driver. I won't name any names, but there were a few times when I didn't feel 100% comfortable on my ride home (driver texting, just met driver that day, teenage driver didn't have license, etc.). I said a lot of prayers for safety while in the passenger seat, haha. But the majority of my experiences were positive and fun.

4) I love walking. I miss when I lived in DC and walked most places. I enjoyed being "forced" to walk around my neighborhood: to work, to the corner store, to a friend's house, etc.

5) I have a lot of supportive people in my life. I already knew this, but it was amazing to see all the different people who gave me rides: roommates, family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, students, parents, YLP members (especially kickball teammates!), etc. I didn't even take a picture with majority of the people who gave me rides.

6) Photos are important to me. As I look back over the series of photos, I smile with the memories of heading to Sunday lunch with my family; students helping me run errands; making new friends or catching up with old friends; road trips; graduation excursions; Royals games; YLP gatherings (formal/informal); kickball!; vacation; being with children and/or teenagers in the backseat; etc. I was bundled up in my parka in some of the first pictures and definitely in sunglasses and summer attire most recently.

7) The adventures don't have to end. I became a lot more laid back when I had to rely on others for transportation because there was so little that I could control. I laughed a lot more. I went out a lot more. I'm not saying that I will keep asking for rides all the time, but I hope to keep the adventurous spirit that I gained throughout this whole experience.

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