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Lessons from the Train - Thrive after fifty

As I travel, continuing my dream to thrive after fifty, I stay attentive to various opportunities that may present special meaning in life. I recently came across one such instance involving trains, and realized there are 5 life lessons of the train that can benefit our lives.

I love speeding trains. Years ago, I lived in a area where I had to cross train tracks on my way to work. Despite the occasional time inconvenience, I would pull up close to the gate, put all my windows down, and turn off the car, readying myself for the oncoming event.

I particularly loved the trains that came by fast. The thundering sound reverberating though my car, the ground shaking beneath me, winds rocking my car back and forth, and sounds so loud and distinct, I sometimes had to cover my ears.

God, I loved those moments.

You can imagine my excitement when, after stopping at the visitors center in southern Georgia, I was told about the Folkston Funnel.

The Folkson Funnel, located in Folkston, GA, just miles from the Florida border, is special in that nearly all trains passing into Florida from Central and the Northeast U.S., get “funneled” through here. In town, there’s even a viewing platform alongside the tracks where visitors and train worshipers gather to watch the passing cars.

It is said that a train comes through on average every 15-20 minutes.

Not content to settle for the “safe” viewing platform, I found a special viewing spot outside of town. A perfect place to watch and experience these beauties up close.

Later that night, after viewing the various train videos I taped, I asked myself what teachings might be gathered and applied to life, from the standpoint of a train. I came up with five:

5 Life Lessons Of The Train:

  • Be Unstoppable, Be Focused: Trains have a mission, a purpose, a definite direction they’re heading. Nothing is going to stop or slow them down. Trains are focused. They have momentum. They have a game plan, a map. And once they begin their forward progress, It’s damn near impossible to slow them down.
  • Keep Moving Forward: Trains are not concerned with what lies behind them; the past is the past. On many days, the forward movement may be slower than others. That’s okay. It’s the continuous forward movement that counts. What’s behind is behind. Don’t be concerned about it. Nothing can be done to change what has already passed.
  • Stay On Track:  It’s tempting to venture down this track or that, but resist the temptation. Finish what you’ve already started. When passing other avenues, take a look. Remember which track you may wish to explore at a later date. Don’t wander. First, complete what you set out to do.
  • Be Strong, Be Smart: Take good care of the engine that powers the train. Without proper tuning and attention to detail, you may not reach your destination. And if you do, you may be too exhausted and broken down to continue traveling onwards. Be wise. Make good decisions to keep your engine running smoothly and efficiently. Keep your engine tuned-up and fueled with a high-energy, high octane fuel that is good for you. You have only one engine. Treat it well.
  • Celebrate! Make noise!: Find your own voice, your authentic voice. Express yourself. Toot your own horn at the road crossings you pass. Be proud of who you are. Give yourself credit for your progress. Sometimes, especially when we are overly focused, we fail to see how much we’ve changed, how much we’ve accomplished, and how far we have come.  

Incorporate the lessons of the train into your own life. Be unstoppable and focused. Keep moving forward and stay on track. Take care of yourself, while being strong and smart. Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate who you are. You are a gift to the world.

Don’t forget that.

Who knows? Someday, you too may rock someone’s world as you pass, creating ground-shaking movements in their life. Your words and your voice can make a difference. Express yourself. Vocalize your truths. Some may not be ready to hear it; some may cover their ears. But some will take every opportunity to stop their car, roll down the windows, stop their engines, and listen and feel with their heart to the words you share.

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