The Next 100,000 Miles

When we celebrated our car turning 100,000 miles in December, we made the car a cake. After blowing out the candles, my seven-year-old daughter turned to ask me, “Are you going to be alive when this happens to me?”

I stalled for time by asking if she was talking about getting her own car to 100k. When she nodded “yes,” I replied “I hope so.”

My engineering brain wanted to calculate how many miles we drive a day while factoring in variables based on the future of transportation. But my existential brain kicked in and reminded me that I don’t know how many miles I have left in me. I just know what kind of miles I want to put in.

The Destinations

Get togethers with friends, adventures to find new ones, crossing bridges to help anyone who needs it are all on my priority list of destinations.

I want to use a good portion of the miles I have left to drive to trailheads and view points. And speaking of miles, I’ve put a lot of them on my knees and hips so the amount of hiking and climbing, if I ever get back to it, might be limited. But if we are driving to be among trees and mountains, I hope I can be happy no matter the activity.

Gathering supplies for silly things like car cakes that help us celebrate any and every milestone together, or just even a good day, seems worth doing. But overall, I want to spend my miles going on vacation together and fewer miles to IKEA to get more stuff.

When I can opt out of driving these miles in a car and instead travel them in an ecofriendly manner that gives our environment and world a healthier and longer life, I’m happy to change vehicles.

The Route

I want to set my internal GPS towards spontaneous miles finding love and purpose and away from those routine destinations ticking the box for obligation. And I want to heed that directional voice as it gives me help me find places that unlock the sense of adventure and possibility, instead of spinning wheels in the muck and mire. If given the option, I’d eliminate miles to to-do list meetings, corporate bullshit, and fruitless gatherings with ineffective leadership or heart.

If learning and laughter is part of where we are going, I’ll be happy to detour from any well-traveled road. I want to drive proactive miles to the things that keep us healthy and NO miles to the emergency room.

The Atmosphere

I want to put in connected miles, ones where we talk, laugh, or sit in companionable silence and gaze at the same scenery. I don’t want to put in disconnected miles where we zone out on attached devices. I understand that this will soon be out of my control, and that I’m part of the problem already when I encourage them to do it on mornings we have trouble getting into the car. But even when they choose their devices, I want my kids to know that I’d prefer to talk and listen to them.

Traveler’s Log

I know that regardless of the intentions I’ve put into the list, I get to control very few of these things except to choose to lean in when I take a “wrong” turn. Also, when lost, reconnecting to a desire to make meaning out of the detours.

I’d like to spend my remaining miles trying not to be locked in conflict or with my heart hardened towards people that have pissed me off. I want to stop avoiding my anger, sadness, or suffering but instead moving to approach all of the emotions of this amazing journey with empathy, awe & curiosity.

I hope to take fewer trips to regret. I’d like to be more readily willing to reroute to repair, apology, and appreciation of the unexpected path of life.

While I recognize I need to spend less time in overdrive and more time in idle, I also want to pass these miles not metaphorically (or actually) asleep at the wheel wondering how I got here but instead marveling at the scenery with gratitude.

When we reach our destination, I hope to remember, more often than not, to say a prayer of gratitude for safe travel.

I don’t know if I’ll be here when my daughter gets a car to 100,000 miles. If it takes til she’s my age (53), I’d be 99-years-old and the odds are slim. But if we are driving an open road between our hearts for any good portion of those miles, I’ll call it good.

I’d love for you to check out and follow my latest project – The Heart of the Matter. It’s a blog of fantastic writers and thinkers delving into what matters in life (and also what doesn’t). You can find it at

For most posts like this – a little story-telling mixed with philosophy, please visit my personal blog at You can also by my book about my father on Amazon: Finding My Father’s Faith

And if you want to follow me, you can find me on Instagram and Twitter @wynneleon

(featured photo is our car cake)

36 thoughts on “The Next 100,000 Miles

  1. Your daughter asking whether you would be around to celebrate her future car reaching 100,000 mile and your response gave me chills. What a harrowing and humbling thought… we don’t know how many mile we have left, but can choose where we go and what we see. Such as incredible and touching analogy, Wynne! ❤️

    1. Thanks, Erin. It gave me the chills too. I had to think for a beat about how to respond (and to blink away the tears) and decided not to go with “you better buy a used car!” 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and your lovely feedback!

  2. Loved your post, Wynne. The path to our destiny certainly can be made smoother if we can avoid the potholes and break downs along the road of life.

  3. Your heart — its connection to people and the world — seems to be the center of your plans and wishes. Here’s a wish that the fates kindly comply, Wynne. I doubt they’ll find a more deserving soul.

    1. Oh wow – I’m blinking back the tears, Dr. Stein! Thank you for that wish that they comply. I hope so too but am trying to live every day as if they will not, with some great guidance, much of it from you.

  4. Love! It’s about the journey not the destination! You are living that adage to its fullest, my friend!!

    1. Oh, my dearest and oldest friend. Thank you! I love the wonderful part you have played on my journey and also for my kids!! I couldn’t be more grateful to be driving this road with you.

  5. Love that idea of having a car cake to celebrate 100,00 miles of a car’s journey, Wynne. It’s not a feature here in the UK. Our car passed that mark a few weeks ago so am off to buy some cake and have a retrospective celebration.

  6. What a fantastic analogy, Wynne! There are so many goodies packed among these words that I’ll have to reread them over to over to glean all there is to glean. How many miles do I have left? Where do I want to go with them? I’m the driver, the decider of destination, and it is up to me to put the pedal to the metal and motor my way toward the goal. Is my desire stronger than my inertia? Now THERE’S a meaty question for me to ponder. My choice, right? Always my choice! Thanks for waking me up with inspiration to up the ante up on desire!

  7. You used your metaphor beautifully, Wynne. And I think that you actually already do much of what you say you hope to do! Stop and think about all those activities you report about with your kids, for example. You’re already driving down (or up) the road you are hoping for! 😊

    1. Wow – that is a very kind and generous comment, Jane! I know I can work on having devices on less in the car and also spending more time in idle and less in overdrive. But I’m working on it all! Thanks for the lovely comment!

  8. Oh, Ms. O, asking such an insightful, yet very tough question. It made me stop in my tracks as well, thinking, what might I not be here for? Maybe there is no real “destination” but only the journey itself to be savored and always in the present. I love your analogy!

  9. How fun that you baked a cake to celebrate 100,000 miles on your car! It’s not something I’d ever think of but what a great way to show your kids gratitude and how to celebrate the little things.

    1. Thanks, Rhonda. To be fair, it was my daughter’s idea – I’m not sure I’d have thought of it either. So I was happy to help make it happen!

  10. Beautiful post as usual Wynne. I like when you say you don’t know how many miles you have left. You know that the best is living the present moment so I wish you as many present moments as needed to achieve your purpose.

  11. Kids ask tough questions!!!! I think you handled this marvelously, and this is a terrific line: I don’t know how many miles I have left in me. I just know what kind of miles I want to put in.
    Yes, girl!

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