“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson

road trip

Over the weekend, I re-read the above quote from Hunter S. Thompson. From time to time I see it posted by someone on social media. It’s a great reminder about how we should be living our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I believe Thompson was absolutely correct. Life isn’t supposed to be lived driving in the right-hand lane. Life shouldn’t be about doing “safe” things. Life is about exploration. Life is a journey. The very nature of a journey means adventure.

Life In A New City

Last week, someone wrote to me. He was struggling. For a long time, he looked for a new work opportunity in his hometown of Atlanta. But, a new job and better life for him and his family wasn’t going to be there. He was writing me from New York City. Although his wife and children seemed to be acclimating well to the new pace of that city, he was struggling.

He realized he had not been off the island of Manhattan in months. When he and his family lived in Georgia, they would often spend weekends getting in the car and taking long drives. They would just get in the car and go, with no designated destination. It was something they loved to do. It was something he found incredibly important.

In New York, they didn’t own a car because it didn’t make sense to them to pay $500 per month for a parking spot, even tough they could afford it. So, the weekend drives in New York with the family were now spent running errands around a 10-block radius of their apartment building.

Get Back to Basics

I advised him to change his outlook. I can understand that New York is very different from Atlanta, but why not look at it as an adventure? New York is the type of place that if you don’t make it a point to adapt, you won’t. It’s easy to see the noise, blaring traffic horns and throngs of people as a nightmare. Or, you can change your thoughts and think about the culture, restaurants and energy. That’s what I told him about New York, but it really can be something you apply to anything in life.

He has to change his outlook. Clearly his wife and kids are not looking at their adopted city through a gray lens. They’re actively trying to engage and assimilate.

One of the things that I mentioned in my reply to him was to get back to basics. He talked about the car rides he took with his family on weekends in Atlanta. This is because it was important for him. He looked forward to spending time with his wife and kids, making memories and getting away from everything that can keep families from each other. Even when they share the same room,  televisions, mobile devices and to-do lists can make them feel apart.

My return note reminded him not to let that part slide. I can understand why owning a car in Manhattan might not make the best sense. But, he can rent a car or even become a member of a car share company, which is big in many cities. Bottom line, he can still have what was important to share with his family if he simply thinks creatively about it.

My point is not to lose what’s important, especially around family. Do whatever it takes to spend the quality time together. Look at any change that happens as an adventure and opportunity to do what Hunter S. Thompson said so eloquently, “…skid broadside in a cloud of smoke…”




Wayne is the author of “Get Off the Couch: Grip & Rip and Break the Barriers Holding You Back in Life” (Free Digital Download)


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