I used to love driving. Until I moved to a city. Until I spent nine years driving a school bus. Two of the deciding factors for the end of that career were an accident and a near miss, neither of which were my fault. The gravity of the responsibility for the safe transport of other people’s children was too heavy of a weight in a society that has no idea how to sit still, wait, or slow down. The driver who backed out of her driveway into the side of my bus on a residential street thought the driver in the 40-foot yellow Twinkie loaded with high school students should have stopped. The driver who was traveling so fast that he or she never saw my turn signal to move over another lane and had to hit his brakes and spin a 180 before coming to a stop against the cable in the median. He kept from hitting my bus loaded with high school students returning from a field trip by mere inches.
I have been reminded of these situations recently as I have noticed drivers pulling out in front of me at the last minute, resulting in my slamming on the brakes to avoid hitting them. Several times this has happened, and when I looked in the rear view mirror, there were no vehicles in sight behind me, indicating they could have waited for me to pass and pull out without potentially causing an accident or even interrupting the flow of traffic. It occurred to me how much this is related to society’s addiction with now, as I wrote about in this post. How much
we I can’t wait one more minute. How we I have to have more of whatever it is that feels good. Because my appointment or schedule is more important than the other thousands who are on the road or in line for coffee. (Okay, so coffee really is an urgent matter, right?)
Just so we’re clear, I am not faultless in this behavior. Since my youth, my family had a saying that supports this concept so well. When you have an entrée or a piece of dessert that you love, and you’d like another piece, you say, “That tastes like more.” When I say it now, people give me strange looks while they process exactly what I said. The silly quip really indicates a thought process related to overuse, abuse, or the addiction of something that might be, in itself, something good. I plan my time too tight and then have to be in a hurry. I want more than I need. In reality,
anything almost everything can become “too much” if we let it. Even things that are beneficial to ourselves and others. I can work too much. I can play too much. I can sleep too much. (At least that’s what I’ve been told about sleep!)
One great thing that has resulted from these observations is my own awareness. Awareness of my hurriedness so that I slow down. Awareness of my wanting more than I need so that I stop to appreciate what I have. Awareness of coworkers or friends who need some acknowledgement or encouragement so that I am staying grounded in my purpose of fun, freedom, and generosity. Awareness of what is going on with others who seem to be in such a hurry to move along or avoid something they are going through, trying to hide their vulnerability, or shame, or sadness.
So…I’m working on paying attention to my state of “hurry.” On planning ahead for traffic or lines. On noticing the sights along the journey, rather than only focusing on the destination. On being grateful for what I have – not just material things, but family, friends, education, etc. – instead of always spending time searching for more/better and wanting it now. I am learning and understanding that anything worth having takes time. Maybe it’s an “older and wiser” thing, although I am not admitting to the “older” part. Or maybe it’s just awareness of who and what I care about these days. At any rate, it’s a process, not an arrival.