A Car Ride To Laramie

There are times in your life you’ll never forget.  Take a moment and think about your past.  What comes to mind?  It’s funny how we can recall some very important moments – graduating, getting married, birth of a child, etc., but we also recall some very, for what it seems now, insignificant moments as well.  I thought of one recently – and I was able to recall it like it was yesterday.  In the summer of 1988 I made a decision to forgo an academic scholarship at Western Michigan University and drive 1200 miles to attend the University of Wyoming.  I never went and visited UW, and being that it was 1988 – I couldn’t even have looked it up on the internet.  I had a friend who was there and the extent of the conversation was “hey, they have a men’s volleyball team here – come out and play”.

I packed up my 1979 Ford Mustang and set out with an atlas of the United States my father had given me.  It was August and hot, and my car had no air conditioning and an 8 track tape player.  I bought a cassette tape adapter, filled up the tank with everything an 18 year old had to there name and drove west.  Here’s the exact moment I remember –

I’m driving across western Illinois on I80 – it’s basically truck stops and corn fields.  The sun is shining hot, the windows are down and the music was loud (because of how loud the wind noise was driving down the highway with your windows down).  I had this feeling of hope like I had never felt before.  Of wonderment.  An energy that you only feel when starting something new.  It was a feeling of – I’m starting my life.  For the first time – the life I would be living would be mine – and it was glorious.

It’s not a memory most of us get to have frequently.  Usually once – then real life comes along and kicks you in the ass at some point (Dad forgot to mention that part as he handed me a cooler of cold drinks on my way out of Grand Rapids!).

Starting something new.

Think about that the next time you’re trying to figure out how to get something launched or start something over within your organization.  Starting is where the fun happens – not where the work begins.  Starting is where you still have hope.  Where everything is positive.  When your energy level will be highest.  Don’t waste the start.  Relish in it – make it last – don’t discount it. Crazy how a simple car ride to Laramie can mean so much.


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