My son got his learner’s permit in late October. It has created an interesting shift in responsibilities. The dude chauffeurs me around for a change. Of course, he still wishes that we had a cooler car than a Prius, but beggars can’t be choosers. He keeps debating what kind of car his father and I should get him. He doesn’t seem to notice that he is only debating by himself.
I have to admit, the dude is a good driver. I was kind of worried what he’d be like. I’ve seen him play Need for Speed. I should have known, however, that his need to follow rules and regulations would trump all in the end. So now, he points out every time I’m speeding. He knows I can’t very well complain. I guess it’s better than having a reckless kid that sends my blood pressure soaring every time he get the keys in his hands, but he doesn’t have to be so self righteous about it. Apparently my husband doesn’t use his turn signal. My son is also a tattle-tale. It makes me feel better, so I don’t discourage it.
He was driving me to Dunkin’ Donuts on Saturday morning. This is a favorite destination of his. It takes us down a multi-lane road, generally filled with traffic. It’s good practice. As we’re driving home, a car slid over from the right lane into a barely car-sized slot between my son and the car ahead of him, then over into the left turn lane just as a the car ahead of us was merging into the same location. They avoided an accident, but my son was rattled by it.
“When you are driving,” I said, “there is little you can undo except for an accident. There’s always another route, and worst case, you can always turn around. It may take time, but burning time doesn’t hike your insurance rate and put you in traction.” I told him to take a deep breath. “The calmer you are, the more options you see.”
Later that day, as I was cooking dinner, distracted and stressed, instead of picking up my wine glass, I picked up the measuring cup and took a swig of chicken broth. In the grand scheme of kitchen errors, this one was more unpalatable than disastrous. I can’t help but think, however, about my earlier advice, to just slow down.
Sometimes I wonder if we feel so rushed not because of how much time we spend doing things, but because of how we spend the time. If we were to relax and breathe through the moments of the day, how much less would we really accomplish? Perhaps even more. I certainly would know the difference between a measuring cup and a wine goblet. I didn’t know I could execute a spit take.
I want to accomplish a great deal this year. I have big plans. At the same time, however, I want to sow serenity. I don’t think they have to be mutually exclusive. One is a matter of “what” and the other is a matter of “how.”
I’m not saying it will be easy. I move at a fast pace. I talk fast, I work fast, I move fast. I don’t walk, I run. Even when it hurts. It gets me home sooner. It also got me a mouthful of chicken broth.
There’s always another route.
You can always turn around.
The calmer you are, the more options you see.
Take a deep breath.
Dream big, take it slow, and look before you drink something.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph by William Jones © 2009 Creative Commons