Archives for posts with tag: commuter traffic

Well then.

I did get safely home. I did not rant at cars the whole way or fill the entire universe with vile invective. I did not. The one momentary loss of reserve happened to occur while I was on the phone with my Traveling Partner, as I was making a feeble attempt to disregard the guy ahead of me driving 10 mph in a 30 mph zone, during rush hour traffic, with cars bumper to bumper behind me – and blue skies and open road ahead of him. Well, shit. That was frustrating. It’s an everyday practice now; can I get from point A to point B, driving a car in traffic, without losing my cool? I generally can, these days. Now and then, I’m just… astonished to the point of lost perspective that people can be such shitty drivers so much of the time. I mean, seriously? What the hell. Safety first, definitely, but omg, then? Please also actually just drive your damned car like you plan to get somewhere. lol

…On the other hand? I set myself up for it today. I went in to work early. I worked without taking breaks. I failed to have a second cup of coffee when I got to my desk. I think I had a bite of lunch…but I clearly did so mindlessly; I don’t remember it at all. I hear it was a great lunch at the office today… I almost certainly had something… By the time I got into afternoon traffic, great dark storm clouds were blotting out the sinking sun, it was much later than I’d have left under other circumstances. I had a headache, and my blood sugar was almost certainly low. The other drivers weren’t the only shitty drivers on the road; my own judgment was surely impaired by my approach to the task, as I was rushing toward my destination, attempting to “beat my blood sugar home”.

(…Um… That’s not how that works.)

I was doing a fairly shitty job of really adulting today… but I was highly productive. For my employer. At the expense of my well-being. Which does not remotely achieve the goal and purpose of working for a living. See that? That’s a word. Words matter. They convey meaning.

I got safely home – even found my lost perspective shortly after I got off the (hands-free) phone call with my partner, who made a point to keep it super short (even though we enjoy talking). It was no doubt evident I was not at my best. He’s sharp like that. Aware of my mood. Aware of my… awareness. 🙂 First thing in the door, once I arrived home, I heated up some soup, and took care of the thing most likely to drive volatility at that point, my blood sugar. I took time to have a big glass of water. I took time to reeeeeeally stretch, and then relax. I went out onto the deck and inhaled the rain fresh air, and watched the storm clouds moving in for more. I sat down to tackle an errand I’d have been in no shape for, if I hadn’t managed my self-care, and then re-assessed the evening.

I rushed off without writing this morning, and didn’t even notice. In the settling gloom of twilight, arriving home rain scented to a stress-free space, I started seeing the thread, how the day developed from that first rushed moment, and never, ever, let up, not even once. It wasn’t a bad day. It was, in fact, generally speaking, a good day – pocked with challenging moments that weren’t even actually bad, just very busy. I’m tired. Cognitively fatigued, but brain still buzzing with busy-ness. If I don’t hop down off this mental treadmill, there won’t be any sleep for me tonight, and the work day will start even earlier tomorrow, and I’ll be short-tempered, error-prone, and lacking in both perspective and sense of humor. Get me tired enough, pile on a few more days, and I fall back on routine and process to keep me going to the point that any deviation at all holds the potential to see me really losing my perspective and ability to reason clearly. So… “Let’s have none of that…” I think at myself. Amused by the notion that just throwing words at the problem could solve anything. This? This needs action. Action… not words. Action …words? Action words.

Verbs.

Fucking verbs again. Damn it. I’m tired and silly. I’ve given all of what I had, today, to my employer, and really there’s nothing much left for me. Acknowledging it is enough to fill my eyes with tears, and my lip trembles. I feel like a child… Then, I wonder what I think I mean by that?

I keep sipping on my soup. It’s warm and comforting. Filling. Soothing. Tears never quite come; I’m finally taking care of this person I say matters to me that I’ve been fairly literally abusing all damned day. I let myself have that moment of self-directed anger. I really “listen” to the frustration and, yes, even “hurt feelings” that result from just treating myself like dirt all day. In my mind, I imagine a toddler storming at a parent, raging, stomping, “I’m mad at you!!”.

…”Yeah, kid,” I think back at myself, “I’m mad at me, too. I can do better. I’m sorry.” My eyes fill again briefly, and the moment passes. I feel myself pout a bit mentally, when it hits me… and I hear that hurt child-like inner voice again, “you didn’t leave any time at all for cartoons”.

Shit. That does suck.

I glance at the time. I really do need to slow things down, a lot, or I won’t sleep. I put aside the notion of doing more, other, stuff. I dim the lights quite a lot. Yoga, meditation, and an early night will have to do this evening. It’s a poor choice to stare at an illuminated screen for any length of time, this late, all wound up this way. I take a few moments to medicate, and get ready to head for my meditation cushion.

It’s time to hit the reset button. Tomorrow I can begin again. 🙂

I’m contentedly sipping my coffee this morning and anticipating the long weekend in the country. I’m even looking forward to the drive, which would seem strange if it weren’t for the weird new little practice I started practicing days or weeks ago (I don’t remember now, long enough to have already become a thing I do); I make a point of reminding myself why I’m using the car, before I start it up, before I pull out of the driveway or parking space, before I start driving anywhere at all.

My commute has been much improved, and seems to get continuously better, and I am, each time, less reactive, less annoyed, less angry, and less likely to arrive home feeling that I’ve basically just wasted those minutes of my life – or even aged myself further by way of added stress. 🙂 Pretty good outcome for what amounts to 3-5 minutes just talking things over with myself. lol

It’s a simple practice. I sit for a moment, and take a few deep cleansing breaths, and ask myself a question. “What’s the point of this trip in the car?” The first time or two, I stuck to old habits, and framed my answer as “getting from ___ to ___ by hh:mm”. This, unfortunately, wasn’t helpful for me; I have hang-ups about time and time management, and the focus on time resulted in a focus on the outcome itself, and resulted in an increase in both anxiety and aggression. I felt as if everyone was in my damned way, an impediment to my forward momentum and timely arrival. Nope. Not helpful at all. I switched things up a bit, and focused on other important qualities about driving places: enjoying the time, arriving safely, creating an overall safe and comfortable shared experience alongside my fellow travelers. No kidding. The first time I focused on the safe arrival aspect, I found myself amusing myself with “safety games” – could I make this particular drive safely, without aggravating myself or other drivers, and also fully 100% participate in our social contract by also following all the traffic control rules and laws? Making “enjoy the time” a goal in my commuting experience ended up taking a lot of pressure off me to get somewhere else to enjoy that time, and I stopped driving around with the implicit understanding that driving around is a shitty experience to be kept short, avoided, and endured, and started… enjoying the drive. It’s nice. Much improved.

I still get frustrated by all manner of ass-hattery and douche-baggery. No doubt. I’m incensed when entitled fuck-nuts decide the right-turn-only lane at a particular intersection is an ideal way to simply get around all of the rest of us, also going that direction on that road, also waiting at that light. Yep. Totally human. I even feel a certain smugness about not doing that douche-bag bullshit, I totally do. lol Because… fuck that guy. I’m better than that. Well… at least about stealing the right away at that intersection right there. (Still totally human, probably should avoid being smug, in general.) …But, I feel less aggravated than I did, and less likely to hit some breaking point that could result in real rage, which is a huge win.

It’s a simple enough practice. Doesn’t work at all if I don’t practice it (confirmed). Works pretty well when I do. 🙂 Your results, no doubt, may vary. It’s the way of things, isn’t it? What works for me, however profoundly, may not work for you. Try it out, find out for yourself, and either adopt it as a practice that works, or discontinue it as a practice that does not work for you. 😀 Of course, if it “isn’t working” the first time, it is a practice, so you’ll likely want to try it a few times… you know… practice it. Be sure it isn’t working, or find out that it does. 😀

It’s a new day. A good one for beginning again. A good day to practice what works. 🙂