"Who Is Driving My Bus?": Our Choice for the Road Ahead
There are times when our life feels like it is one long track, already mapped out for us, and we are simply runaway trains with no means of braking and no agency, whooshing along our predetermined courses. All of us have felt like this from time to time, and the feeling is not a pleasant one.
The antidote to this is belief and knowledge: the knowledge that this perceived situation is in fact false, and the belief that we do have what it takes to change our 'destiny'.
As we get older, this should become clearer, but for teenagers, the disconnect between reality and perception can be enormous. Too many adults put this down to teenage apathy and narcissism, but this is doing our young people an enormous disservice. A Mission Australia survey in 2015 found that stress and anxiety over study and future career are two of the biggest causes of depression among Australian teens, proving how much the next generation cares about their next steps in this world.
So what's the answer? More often than not, the answer is an experience of the belief and the knowledge discussed above, and a demonstration that life is in fact a series of choices, that agency and autonomy are possible, and that destiny is a product of our own making.
In answer to the question, "who is driving my bus?" you are. You are the only person in the driving seat and you are the only person able to pilot a course through life. You are the only person who can navigate the road between love and fear.
Of course, there are other factors involved. Some days, we are on the top of the world and everything is smooth sailing – or smooth driving in this case. Other days, we are cast down into the depths and we feel like everything is against us. In times like these, we can consider Viktor Frankl, who we discussed in last week's post. Frankl told us that there is a choice which exists in the space between stimulus and response, and it is up to us what we do with this choice.
Or perhaps we can consider Boethius and his wheel: "Good times pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but also our hope."
Whichever source of inspiration we choose, it is important never to dwell on the victim mentality and instead to consider the question: "who is driving my bus?" “Oh that’s right, it’s me!”
Margaret Bell, AM - Founder and CEO of Chain Reaction Foundation.
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