I’ve seen a lot of stupid driving since moving to a city over 7 years ago. I mean, a lot. Some poor driving decisions including turning left on a red light, cutting off a bicycle, and ignoring stop signs altogether. One style of driving I see more often than not is failure to look ahead and anticipate what’s coming. Drivers will accelerate as much as possible to pass others, run lights, and avoid stopping, only to have to slam their brakes when they (inevitably) come across something that causes them to have to slow down. I think that many people who drive like this also live this way, too. They go go go as much as possible, pushing past anyone who would dare get in their way, only to have to slam on the breaks when they can’t maintain their speed anymore. Perhaps their obstacle comes in the form of a health crisis, or a stressful season of life that they can’t cope with.
But in life, just as in driving, it would prevent so many accidents if we were able to live with anticipation of whats ahead, and make decisions accordingly. Now I hear you wondering if I have discovered a prediction of the future. And I have. Nothing specific to your circumstances but I can tell you that things you didn’t anticipate will happen: that’s called life. Jobs will fall through. Health will fail. Things will break. But these things don’t have to cause you to slam on your brakes, or be in an accident, if you only live with anticipation.
Yielding the Yellow
A common joke in Ottawa is that a yellow light means there’s time for 5 more cars to go through. People here don’t often see the yellow as a chance to slow down, but rather as an opportunity to get to that higher gear. Yellow lights are there for our safety. They let us know that very soon it won’t be safe to continue and we need to make a tough choice: continue on or wait. Nobody likes to wait (just try asking your 3-year-old if they want ice cream before or after dinner) but it is a necessary part of life, and sometimes it is vital to our own well being. If you feel you’re coming up on a light in life and faced with a choice to speed up or slow down, why not try the latter and see what happens.
I think that we’re so filled with the fear of someone passing us that we are willing to put our own health and happiness at risk to continue on [tweet this]. Have a stressful week ahead at work? Resist the urge to begin work early on Sunday and take the time to do something relaxing instead. Notice you’re less patient with those around you? Perhaps you’re reaching the end of your threshold and need to say no to any further commitments, or even reduce some of the ones you have now (how to practice the art of quietness).
By living with anticipation and yielding when we feel ourselves starting to speed we can begin to live a life more in the moment and enjoy our relationships and activities more than if we are always racing ahead to beat the next light. You might just hear your favourite song on the radio while you wait, if so, don’t be afraid to sing along.