You know you are in for trouble when it’s the middle of the day and the highway is completely empty. I was traveling and happened to look right and didn’t see one single car coming or going…yikes! As expected I was stuck in traffic for hours moving past several accidents and a major highway closing. Lucky for me I was not in a hurry, so I turned up the music and began to sing along.
I thought about how life is like the highway. Sometimes we can see what’s coming and sometimes we are caught totally unaware. Something horrendous happens right before our eyes and suddenly our daily plan is blown to bits as time stands still and so do we. We can only control two things – our actions and our attitude – so if we have pressed ourselves into a tight spot this disaster has the ability to send us into orbit. We lose control of our emotions, our tight schedule is blown, and we begin to feel the pressure building to a boiling point. We are no longer in control of anything, frustration joined us on this journey and it buckled in for a long ride. Everything we planned just went right out the window.
I didn’t react with panic today, so what not? As I slowly moved through the traffic I thought about how I reacted differently today. It was because I didn’t have a time I had to be somewhere, just an open ended something that had to get done when I arrived. Time was not an enemy just a simple passenger sitting with me and enjoying the ride. When I realized time was on my side I made a mental note to prepare this way more often. I felt better, I was not a nervous wreck, and I know the once I arrived I was able to think clearly and do what had to be done.
So why don’t I do this more often? Honestly, I say yes too often and do not say no often enough. I press myself into tight corners and the pressure builds before I know it and I am a victim of my own enthusiasm. Wisdom reminds me to focus and do what I can, not everything. When I listen to that wise inner voice things go much better. So today’s adventure in traffic reminded me to be wise and slow down. I can’t control everything or do everything so do what I can then let the rest go. I would prefer to have time on my side instead of frustration, and that all begins with me.