Coping with the five stages of coming home for break

Everyone who has ever been on a long car ride alone knows that it can be a very dynamic experience.

For those embarking on a solo trip for the first time this Thanksgiving break and are having stress acne just thinking about it, take a deep breath and repeat a mantra.

Repeating a mantra can reinforce the good, and dispel the bad. I have outlined the common phases people go through over the course of a long road trip, along with a suggested mantra.

Phase 1: Elation

This phase marks the start of your trip: when everything is perfect. You cue up the car playlist with triumph, sure as ever that each and every song you selected for the drive is going to be absolutely epic.

First stop of the trip is the nearest Dunkin. You smile at the cashier, who hands you your addiction, and you pee for the last time, sure as ever that you’ve cleared your bladder for good.

In this moment, you are Beyonce. You are invincible. You text your mom with the ETA, which you know to be a true fact. There is no doubt in your mind that this trip is going to be seamless.

Mantra to repeat: “Nothing is permanent. Nothing is permanent. Nothing is permanent.”

Phase 2: Jamming

For the past two hours, you know nothing of the world that has passed by your peripherals. You are the music and the music is you.

You’re rocking out hard at this point. Every time you pass a car you rock harder, knowing how chill you must look from the other driver’s perspective.

In this moment you are a laid back person who has no worries, and certainly no regrets, and you realize you’re actually an incredible dancer from the waist up, not to mention an incredible singer.

During this phase you would even venture to classify yourself as “flawless.”

Mantra to repeat: “I am light. I am light. I am light.”

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Phase 3: Substance abuse

At this point, you begin to do a little math. You say to yourself, “If I slug two Five Hour Energy drinks at once, will this bring me 10 hours of energy?”

You envision yourself with another cup of coffee inside you, liking the way it makes your eyes twitch.

You contemplate purchasing a black and mild cigar, which you have never once in your life smoked. You start to scan your car for … anything, really.

All you find is an M&M on the floor laden with cat fur, which you eat immediately without a second thought.

Mantra: “I am in control of my body and mind. I am in control of my body and mind. I am in control of my body and mind.”

Phase 4: Road rage

Suddenly you have absolutely no idea why anyone would ever be driving 65 mph in a 65 mph zone.

You know that you are driving at the exact same speed as the person in front of you, but you know that you can do it better and you intend to prove it.

You hate everyone including yourself, and at this point your playlist sucks so you turn on the radio but the radio sucks so you turn back to your playlist and you loathe yourself for ever thinking you would be in the mood to listen to Maroon 5 at a time like this.

Mantra: “The universe is ever-expanding as it should. The universe is ever-expanding as it should. The universe is ever-expanding as it should.”

Phase 5: Traffic

At this point you “can’t even,” and you say this aloud multiple times, while still continuing to drive. Your bladder is full, and your ETA is ever expanding like the universe.

GPS is a fraud. You have no faith in the system and you hate everything and everyone that has ever lied to you.

You sit there brooding, analyzing every bad decision you have ever made that has led you to this point. You catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and don’t recognize the monster you have become.

Mantra: I’m sorry. At this point, there are honestly no mantras that will save you. The truth is, driving home alone is the worst. Good luck and happy Thanksgiving.