When I was in my 20’s I owned a Jeep YJ. I loved it. It was small and nimble with a stick shift and it felt good to drive, because I was able to move around in traffic having fun and looking cool. (Yes. Looking cool mattered to me. Call me vain, but my teen-aged ego still lived into my early adulthood.) The standard shift transmission made my travels more challenging and somehow rewarding. Fun, cool, challenging, rewarding…the positive side of commuting.

There’s a hill downtown that is very steep, with a set of stoplights halfway up the hill. Bellamy Hill was notorious for traffic jams and stalls. I remember stopping at the lights in the middle of Bellamy Hill, petrified that I wouldn’t be able to start again. There were always one or two false starts, complete with flushed glances in my rearview mirror, while a colourful peal of curses escaped my mouth. I was nervous and sweaty. Part of me wanted to just sit there with one foot on the clutch and one on the brake, ignoring the honks and hollers from the other commuters, but I pushed that feeling out of mind. I knew that I would have to roll back a bit, as I got the engine and transmission in sync enough to get traction and move forward. As fearful and anxious as I was, I always made it up the hill. Wanna know why? Because forward was the only choice. Backward would surely result in an accident involving someone else having a goal of moving forward. At the top of the hill, a combination of relief and pride washed over me. (Fist pump out the driver’s window!) Northing could stop this girl! HA! I’ve got this.

We experience this in life, do we not? Stuck half-way up. Each time we try to move forward, we lose a bit of ground before building power and momentum. Then up we go, to the top of the hill, joyous and victorious!

True, I can make it up the rise. However, the next time I drove my jeep downtown, I took a route that did not involve such a steep incline. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we can’t avoid the challenging route, but most destinations have many inroads. Why not use the one that is direct and simple? Getting going after a stop, is so much easier moving downhill and equally as exhilarating. Yes, we can surmount each peak. Yes, we can overcome the challenges. However, sometimes success is as simple of letting gravity work in our favour.

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