Music ‘n Musings

Create time for relaxation in the midst of stress


It’s finally fall break, and I couldn’t be more excited. The last 10 weeks have flown by, and while I’ve enjoyed some moments in this first quarter of the school year, I’m ready for a break.
When I think of my fall breaks over the years, a common theme is traveling. My family and I have almost always taken a week-long vacation during the break and traveled to places like Williamsburg, Virginia, Chattanooga, Tennessee or even Disney World. I think fall break is the best time to travel because the weather is usually pretty cool and fair, the trees on the side of the highways are vibrantly beautiful and a lot of vacation spots aren’t as busy since it’s not peak vacation season.
A song that really reminds me of traveling is “Ventura Highway” by America. With its driving beat, listening to this song makes me feel like I am literally traveling down the highway. It’s my go-to song for when the rubber hits the road.
The premise of the song is that it is about a wandering traveler, someone who arrives in a town one day and is on to another one the next. Its fast, driving beat evokes a feeling of restlessness and makes one feel like they are in the midst of their own endless journey.
I think “Ventura Highway” really hits the mark as a metaphor for life. We are all hurtling at high speeds down the highway of life, “chewin’ on a piece of grace,” along for the ride. As we hit life’s major stopping points and landmarks, we often are forced to ask ourselves “how long you gonna stay here, Joe?” and decide whether to move forward or stay where we are.
How appropriate for where we are in the school year. For some seniors like myself, college applications are upon us and making life pretty stressful. Weighing the odds between different schools, deciding whether to go private or public, in-state or out-of-state or which school makes the most financial sense is a really hard task to manage, especially for 17 and 18 year old kids.
When life starts to take a turn for the worse, I try to remind myself that everything in my life has brought me here. The long, winding highway that is life has brought or will bring each of us to this fork in the road where we decide what we want to do after high school. It’s a big decision, but life up until this point has given us all the preparation we need to make the right decision for each of us as individuals.
Leaning into this belief is what can help ease the hard and stressful moments ahead. Instead of constantly worrying and adding more pressure, everyone should allow themselves to sit back and breathe. Soak in “Ventura Highway in the sunshine,” leave room to enjoy the small, happy moments even in the midst of such a big decision and with “the free wind blowin’ through your hair,” create room to breathe and make the best, most-informed decision possible.
Even at this turning point, remember “the days surround you daylight there, seasons crying no despair,” and know that no matter what, everything will be ok.