|St. Louis archway (I'm not the driver)|
Slow it Down
I live in a neighborhood that opens out to a two-lane highway. When we moved here about five years ago, you could stand in the middle of that road and not see a car for hours. The area has grown by leaps and bounds (whatever those are) and the road is full of traffic most of the day. Still, it doesn’t come close to the hustle and bustle I left in Southern California where sitting in traffic for hours was just a normal day’s commute, so when I hear people complain about the traffic here, I smile and remember.
Yesterday, as I was coming out of my neighborhood and into the traffic, I noticed another thing that is not typical of our little community. In the past if there was a small opening that would allow me to merge, the oncoming car would slow down and the driver would give a polite nod allowing me to move onto the road. Now, they speed up closing the gap between me and the opportunity to get in.
I’ve grown accustomed to the hospitality of Savannah and the surrounding areas. I live in a community where people still pull over and stop their car when a funeral procession goes by. When a fallen soldier comes home, the local newscaster, Sonny Dixon will broadcast the route to the funeral home and everyone will line the streets to show support to the family. I’ve had my meals paid for by strangers in restaurants and if a neighbor is sick, someone will cut their lawn while others feed the family and watch out for the kids.
It’s odd to see people speed up to keep you out of traffic when you are accustomed to folks making a way. Yesterday, I began to notice that it was happening more and more and it occurred to me that we are all moving faster than we ever have.
I used to yell at the drivers telling them to slow down or leave early, but when I began to work on my own wellness, I realized that their speed was becoming my adrenalin rush. Now, I imagine the person arriving safely without causing harm to anyone or to themselves.
But the question remains, why are we in a rush? We are rushing from one holiday to the next and then we complain that we can’t believe how quickly time has gone by. We rush to work and then can’t wait for the day to end so we can rush back home with all of the other motorists who are rushing right with us.
Today, try something new; leave early and slow it down. If you gave yourself more time to do something, you wouldn’t need to rush. I know that this is common sense, but remember sense just ain’t that common. Try yielding to oncoming traffic and allow someone in. Even when the person doesn’t give the obligatory wave of gratitude you will find that you feel better, less rushed when you give in just a bit.
All of this rushing is having an impact on our health and wellness. We are stressed out because we are flying and rushing from one place to the next.
· Put your cell phone away while driving. Research shows that talking while driving, even when you are on a blue tooth affects your reaction time as much or more than alcohol. I don’t drink and never have, but I talk while driving like it’s a divine right. I know better so today and beyond, I am going to do better.
· Leave early. Double the time you need to get somewhere and leave early. You will find that the drive is much more pleasant, you will see things you didn’t know were there and you will be much less stressed when you arrive.
· When someone ask you how you are doing, tell them and then slow down and really listen to what they have to tell you.
Life is not short, but it can be fast so slow it down.
Be you, be well, be better
Bertice Berry, PhD.