Clogging Along

living life in a multicultural world

Take a Detour — I’m Under Construction

Live here in The Netherlands long enough and you will invariably realize that roads are constantly being redone. Not fixed, mind you, but full-out repaved.

never get to work

This week, it is my street’s turn. The sidewalk looked perfectly fine. But no. The whole thing is being ripped up and repaved. It must be written somewhere in the municipality that its lifespan is up and therefore, it must be done.

Now, my usual life philosophy is “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” But having this constant barrage of infrastructure construction, instead of annoying me, is having the opposite effect. It is making me realize how it is better to maintain rather than repair.

Now, I do not want you to think that this blog is my attempt at creating uber deep thoughts about the mundane occurrences in my life here in Holland. I am not that pretentious. However, I would like to point out that in this particular instance, I have, in a very bizarre way, made an important link between Dutch highway/road maintenance and my life, and hey, perhaps we can even stretch it to a link between Dutch highway maintenance and your life. Did you ever imagine?

Now, what if we, like the many municipalities in Holland, were proactive instead of reactive in our lives? What if we made sure to put on skin cream before we could write our name on our skin, exercise before we gained the extra pounds, meditated before we were about to have a mental breakdown? I know, I know, it is revolutionary!

road to success

Repairing something as a crisis measure is not the best route (ahem) — for a country or for an individual. It is so easy to make excuses to not do things we should for our personal well being — I don’t have time, I don’t have money, it is not necessary. What you realize when you are repairing something in crisis mode is that IT SUCKS and you should have done something earlier. Maintenance is usually less painful and less expensive.

Now, I don’t want to take the analogy too far but indulge me for a second in imagining a country road. This road leads to places and these places lead to people and these people and places lead to experiences. If it is a really shitty road, maybe you won’t get where you want to go, or maybe you will be late, or maybe your neck will hurt from the bumpy road and you will be in a bad mood when you get there. The good thing about keeping things such as yourself and roads in good shape is that these bad things will happen less often and you get the added benefit of taking a detour once in a while!

Yes, you knew it was coming — the extolling of the proverbial and literal detour.


Detours are usually unwelcome. They take longer, they are unexpected, they are not what you want and are a bit scary. Oh! but life is full of them — so why not embrace them?

When we are open to detours in our life, both literal and figurative, we create an opportunity to experience new things that will make us grow.

So, as I hear the machines outside my window roaring away, I resolve to take care of myself in a deep and meaningful way — no patchwork allowed. I resolve to enjoy the new scenery that detours afford us in our lives. I resolve to appreciate life because of, not in spite of, all its issues.

In fact, I feel so grateful I’m going to make the whole crew outside some much deserved coffee!


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This entry was posted on June 12, 2013 by .

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