I was driving to an appointment one day last summer.
Wow, this is going to be a riveting article.
See Spot run.
Alright, enough chastising my boring opener, people. There’s a serious discussion to be had here. And although it begins on a gorgeous, hot Okanagan summer day, it is perhaps even more pertinent now.
This is… the holiday season!
The analogy is simple enough. As I drove I became increasingly late for my appointment. This, of course, had nothing to do with being hungry and ‘needing’ a snack as I ran out the door, nor being unable to leave until I found my iPod. One cannot drive without music. Not even music on CD, apparently.
No, this had everything to do with the driver ahead of me, taking his time at half the speed of a mildly caffeinated sloth. I was running late, and this car was the only obstacle in my way.
Let’s back up a minute.
Due to the injuries I have sustained, driving has been an immense challenge for me. This is unfortunate as not only do I drive for a living, and I drive because I LOVE it. Truly, I do.
So as challenging as this mandatory commute to the doctor was that day, it was a moment I was determined to enjoy. SELFISHLY. Those moments had become few and far between.
So brilliant sunshine and happy music. But this guy was making me late.
There I was, having what could have been an otherwise enjoyable moment, but instead I was fighting it. I got grouchy. Why do all the slow people have to park in front of me?
You see, the longer I drove, the worse I would feel physically. Not a great excuse for being in such a hurry but I was in real danger of not making it back home again as my symptoms worsened. It had happened before. But, mandatory is mandatory, and as challenging as it was I had to see it through regardless of its repercussions.
C’mon, slow guy! Just… please… MOVE!
Oh crap. That’s my turn!
Man. Well, ain’t that a great analogy for life.
Maybe this should be a blog article.
And here we are. In the busiest, most chaotic season, talking about how to avoid getting yourself so damn worked up about your current circumstances and well, so wrapped up in your own mind, that you fail to see the obvious.
“Well, you can’t blame Slow Guy for that!”
No I can’t. Thing is, had Slow Guy been absent I would have been going twice as fast, which actually happened to be the speed limit in case you’re wondering. Yes, I would likely have missed my turn then too. I was simply too focused on getting to my destination to have noticed the details along the way.
There are two lessons to this story.
Don’t live with blinders on, you are not a horse.
Trying to change what is truly out of your control, or fighting for the sake of fighting, is so freaking exhausting and will cause problems along the way.
Late for your appointment? Who cares. BREATHE.
Falling behind on your Christmas shopping? Who cares. BREATHE.
Life not running fast enough for you? Who cares. BREATHE, or you might miss your turn. Seriously.
I know you’ve heard these fancy little quotes in the past. Like, don’t move faster than your angels can fly. They bounce right off us now, we see so many in a day.
But they’re right.
Shake my analogy out and smooth it over your life. Do some parts line up and make sense?
This is really the speed at which we move at times, and the chaos with which we do it. Life is chaotic enough without us panicking about it.
Being mindful doesn’t mean be an unshakeable monk every hour of the day. Let’s be honest; frantic never helped anybody.
If you can’t change it, or move it out of its way, maybe life put it there for a reason. And maybe, just maybe, you should listen.
Things rarely go as planned anyway but it’s the tiny stuff that we need to teach ourselves to let go of. If you’re forced to slow down, you’re probably about to miss something.
Just look around, and enjoy the music. This too shall pass. It will be less of a catastrophe than you imagined.