Growing up at the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder Colorado where is seems that winter lasts 6 months of the year, we all got lots of practice driving in snow and slush. I admit, I was a very timid and stressful winter driver in my youth, but I did learn something after a few winters under my belt. The most important and what I shared with my daughter in law this last week was learning to NOT be a white knuckle driver. I am not sure if this a common expression or is just what my mother called it. The white knuckle driver is one who holds the steering wheel so tight that the knuckles on the back of you hands turn white from the grip that you have on the wheel. Where you are so afraid of what is happening on the road that the tension is visible all over your body. Most young drivers experience this while learning to drive and it passes only to return when winter weather reappears. So when I am feeling stressed behind the wheel in the winter, I still to this day, I take a deep breath and play this song in my head to remind myself what to do.
38 Special… “Hold On Loosely”
If you choose not to see the video I still want to share with you the chorus with you so that you understand what is that I am trying to get at. ” Just hold on loosely, but don’t let go, if you cling to tightly to her, you’re gonna lose control”. This is a simple way for me to force myself to slow down, take a deep breath and stop white knuckling my way through life.
38 Special wrote and preformed the song with a love affair in mind, but I like to take the idea and expand it to life in general. How often have we all smothered our loved ones, our children or choked off other opportunities in our lives because we were to afraid to just let life happen. We are terrified that we would not be able to handle the results of a life lived in the present. We do not believe in ourselves enough to handle what life was giving us. I was guilty of this much of my youth.
I wanted all the details of everyone’s lives. I had to check in with my friends a million times a day. I worried that if I wasn’t part of what was happening then something terrible would happen. Well guess what, terrible things happen everyday, all across the world, in my town and yours, to people we love and those we do not know at all and it happens with or without us. The reality is that we really have very little control over the weather, our friends, family or at times our own health. So it is by choice that I have tried to stop letting worry control my happiness.
Instead of worrying about everything that happens in my life I have learned, as the song says,” To Hold On Loosely, But Not Let Go”. To allow for the bumps in the road and the twists and turns that we all experience without totally losing my way in the world. Age gives you insight to realize that there is really nothing that you can not over come in your life if you are willing to just Hold On, Not Give Up and Try Again.
So to my Daughter In Law I said “Try not to white knuckle all the fun out of life by trying to control the things that you can’t”. Don’t lose your balance and happiness because the fear of losing something or someone.We all lose it is part of life, but you can keep your sense of happiness if you just remember to ” Take a deep breath, go slow and hold on loosely but don’t let go”.
I am sure that our conversation about winter driving made sense to her it is easy to understand The other part about not doing the same for her family, friends and future may have made her think that I was just crazy, I just hope when the time comes in her life that she will think back on this song and find some solace there.