Backseat Driving, Backseat Dreaming

How hopeless is backseat driving?

The backseat driver is frustrated and the actual driver inevitably becomes annoyed. Now that I’m using subways and buses, it’s become an easier question to face. Bad idea, that backseat driving I used to do, definitely.

Facing the backseat mentality that seeps into the way I speak, the way I react to the news, and even the way I structure my actions in the 24 hours in my own day, is quite another matter. I always say, “everyone has the same 24 hours in a day”. But do we? It’s my least popular one-liner at home for a reason. I think having “time” may be a question of power, as opposed to powerlessness. A person owns their time, or doesn’t.

Time is surely relative, and the whole time experience is very different for the powerful than it is for the powerless. Arranging things so that more of the time passes while focused on possible things, things that are true to the self and not just observations of others, helps for me.

Sharing some thoughts about knowing oneself and taking back personal power:

You can’t liberate your own country if you’re off liberating some one else’s.

You can’t pay off your debt if you’re paying off someone else’s.

You can’t run your race if you’re running someone else’s.

You can’t tell your story if you’re telling someone else’s.

You can’t hear your inner voice if you’re listening to someone else’s.

And you can’t follow your dream if you’re following someone else’s.

Please add a comment to join the discussion, I look forward to sharing your views on backseat dreaming.

14 responses to “Backseat Driving, Backseat Dreaming”

  1. Jennifer, I LOVE this metaphor! “Backseat dreaming” — I’d never thought of it that way, but it makes so much sense as a description of the mindset that keeps us from going after what we sincerely wish for!

    I’m not sure I’ve been a backseat dreamer…but I have been a notorious passenger seat driver. Watching how the driver shifts gears, noting how early/late they brake, critiquing the use of turn signals.

    Have I been a passenger seat dreamer? I think so. Not as much in recent years — but I know I’ve been guilty of watching others drive toward their dreams and, instead of driving toward my own, critiquing how others are doing it. I’m in the passenger seat — close enough to the action to seem like I’m a part of it, but not doing anything that would expose me to criticism.

    No more! I’m getting vulnerable now, taking responsibility for my passions and following them. It’s terrifying! And liberating! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Thanks so much, Jennifer, for sparking these thoughts!


  2. “…knowing oneself and taking back personal power:”

    Thinking about this – where does power come from? Read recently that “true power comes from honesty”.

    So, ‘personal power’ comes from being honest with yourself? Yes. I can live with that.



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