It shouldn’t surprise me - but somehow it still does - how quickly you can fly to a place you normally drive to; the astounding speed with which you can cover that ground.
All that journeying, all that life and scenery along the way... Yes, the endless dull motorways, but also the meandering rivers, the views across misty green hills, the vast expanses of sandy beach where you pull over to climb rocks and splash in the shallows.
All of it completely by-passed and cut out. A ruthless edit.
And then, with further astonishment, you realise that some people always travel this quickly. This is their normal and, for them, all that stuff along the way is superfluous. They simply fly from A to B, or perhaps from A to E, cutting out all the Bs, Cs and Ds which are so much part of your experience.
It calls to mind all those life journeys which seem to take me so long (like...oh, pretty much anything significant) and it occurred to me that, whereas a lot of people I know are “flyers”, my own life has always been one of these long drawn out journeys, watching everyone else arrive before me at the place I wanted to get to.
Because so often my life has felt more like a broken down bus than a high speed jet; like a night train stopping at every sleepy village or a slow plod along the B-roads, wondering if I’ll ever arrive. To make matters worse, the ones who “flew” call saying things like “where are you? We arrived ages ago.”
They don’t mean it badly. They simply cannot understand how long and slow things can be: the obstructions along the way, the inexplicable traffic jams and diversions that can thwart your success. So they ask those questions. Why haven’t you landed that dream job yet? When are you having another baby? I thought you were moving to a bigger house?
It doesn’t cross their minds that these things, which came so easily to them, might just take you that bit longer. That if you had any control at all over them you would have ticked those boxes long ago and “flown” just as they did. That you would have checked in to their fast-track-baggage-free flight too...if only you could have.
But later, maybe years later, you will be glad you didn’t.
Later you will appreciate the perspective journeying brings: a proper sense of the distance you’ve travelled, a gradual change in scenery, a realisation of how far you’ve come. How it feels like more of an achievement when you do arrive, when the thing you’ve been longing for finally happens.
Later, you will appreciate all they missed along the way: wide wide beaches and the expansive love of those walking slowly alongside you. A certain quality of life lesson that only comes through waiting and travelling slowly.
So you just have to learn to enjoy the ride. Dream a little. Look at the scenery.