Now Where IS That Wagon?
The wheels are falling off the wagon.
I love that saying. The open admittance that things are not going the way you had planned. The acknowledgement that things could probably be a bit better. The humorous take on a delicate balance gone wrong. It's so simple in its honesty. Wagons need all four wheels to work well. Get a wobbly one and - oh boy - disaster can strike. At a minimum, frustration sets in and that can tank any wagon ride, great and small.
According to the almighty internet, the phrase is originally a reference to wagons that traveled the streets to spray down the dust with water during the early 1900's. Men would commit to drinking water only, instead of alcohol, and use the expression, "on the water cart/wagon" to say they were alcohol-free. Once you had a drink, you were said to have fallen off of the wagon. But, I digress.
I tend to believe that when wheels fall off of a wagon, you have somehow lost your commitment, or motivation, or momentum. The wagon represents your more perfect state, that rolls along smoothly. I am ON the wagon when I'm eating right and exercising regularly. I am ON the wagon when the paperwork is not piled up on my desk. I am totally ON the wagon, or happily riding IN the wagon, when my kitchen is tidy all day. Little stuff, big stuff, trivial stuff, real stuff - it can all be represented by this simple little wagon.
I fall OFF of the wagon when I am somehow unable to continue along the prescribed path. Friends come over and I drink with them, leaving that poor wagon of healthy eating behind, if only for a few hours. And I break my vow of calm and serenity and yell at my son - that wagon is empty. I mean, that wagon is easy to fill but hard to maintain on its little path.
I've been thinking a whole lot about that wagon as the new school year approaches. You see, I can't even find mine. It is so far buried under a general malaise and disdain for setting goals, trying new things, getting ready for school and laundry - and I can't even muster the energy to go and find it. I'm usually SO GOOD about that darn little wagon. I am usually so excited each day to drag it along next to me, from one little goal to the next. And when it wobbles, I get right to work on replacing that old wheel and starting again. My wagon, at least for these past 2 weeks, is totally stuck. The wheels have fallen off the wagon. The wagon has rolled into the brush. I don't even want to see that damn wagon. You know the feeling?
I've been so distressed about my lost wagon. It has halted all sorts of great progress and wreaked all sorts of havoc on my lists and goals for August. But here we are in September, and I am admitting that I prefer to have a wagon to not, even if the wagon is for resting a bit. Not having the goals and direction hurts me far more than it helps. And maybe if I can find my little wagon, dust it off, climb back on it, and take stock of what I really need, I can get it moving again. It probably needs to go uphill. That is going to be work. I'm really not excited about that. But I think I see it, peeking at me, under the paperwork in the office. Or is it there behind my pile of sewing projects? Oh little wagon!! I'm coming for you. Forgive me for leaving you for so long. Thanks for supporting me when I didn't even know I needed it. l think I'm looking forward to our time together again....