At my last work conference before I left the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association, I was sitting with my team when someone brought out a package of squeaky toy frogs. She gave each of us a frog and told us to keep it on our desks as a reminder to “eat the frog first.”
Eat the frog first was a reference to getting the hard task out of the way early. It’s basically the grown-up version of “you can’t play outside until you finish your homework” or “no ice cream until you finish your vegetables.”
We’ve been on the road for over a month now and I am so glad I ate my frog.
The biggest, and perhaps only main concern I had pre-trip was driving. As I’ve written before, I learned to drive at age 16. I passed my test on my first try and drove throughout high school. I went to college about an hour away from home and, because my school was in a very small town, I never owned a car. Immediately after graduation I moved to New York City. It should go without saying that I don’t need a car there. When I return to my parent’s in Pennsylvania, I spend most of my time with them or driving with my dad to a farmer’s market or my mother to church. Basically – I don’t drive a lot and I had certainly never driven across America.
Pre-road trip, I think the longest straight drive I had done was two-hour drives to Central Pennsylvania or to Cleveland and since moving to New York City, my tolerance for car rides had gone way down.
The morning of June 23rd, the morning we left, I took Zack to the rental car place to be added as a second driver. Once confirmed, I told him I had to drive first. I had to eat my frog.
That first day of driving – to this point in the trip – remains the worst driving we’ve experienced. It poured to puddles and visibility was nonexistent. The traffic was oblivious as it sped past and cars weaved like they weren’t in a raging storm. It was congested and chaotic and I was white knuckled and stressed.
By the time we reached our “switch drivers” point I was drained. There was no way I could pull this off. When we switched drivers, Zack had empty roads and sunshine for the remainder of our first day. It went on like this for the first week – all the bad driving and weather somehow ended up on my shift. At first it was an annoying joke, but in hindsight, I am so grateful I had to eat that frog.
Since those first couple days of nervousness and psyching myself up to get behind the wheel, I have transformed into someone who casually takes my morning driving shift with little thought and no anxiety. I ate my frog. I learned how to use cruise control in New Mexico, I drove past my allotted time in California. I fell in love with my little blue rental car.
Whatever it is you are working on or stressing about or feeling overwhelmed about doing – do it. Eat your frog. The rest of the journey will be smooth sailing.
Feat. a bridge