I was on a business trip in Pittsburgh over the weekend. I don’t get to travel often, and certainly not over the last several years, when caregiving duties required me to be on call at a moment’s notice.
So it was a nice change of pace, and it just happened to be a perfect weather weekend in Pittsburgh.
I had a chance to talk to locals on my Uber trips from my hotel to my workplace. While I am definitely not one to initiate conversation, like my mom was, I usually end up enjoying my conversations with strangers and often learn something along the way. Pittsburgh proved to be no different.
I know often in the midst of a caregiving crisis, I would look around at others who seemed to be carefree and envy that they weren’t saddled with so many heavy responsibilities. But as it turns out, most of us are shouldering more than we’d like, and we’re just trying to do our best to survive.
One of my Uber drivers was an immigrant who is working towards a college degree and hopes to go to law school, but an unplanned child that just arrived in the world threatened to derail his plans. Another driver is a father of three kids, and juggling parenting with a full-time job that required him to get up at the crack of dawn, then works Uber whenever he can to earn money to pay for all of the activities his kids want to be involved in.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own problems and dismiss other people’s struggles. A 10-minute Uber ride reminded me how so many of us are dealing with unexpected detours in our lives, and we’re doing our best to navigate uncharted territory.