Archives for posts with tag: drive safely

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

My head is still buzzing with the distracting excitement of the show last night. My tinnitus reminding me there is value in ear plugs. My hallway is short two paintings that recently hung there, now hanging somewhere else. My “art closet”, filled with work carefully stacked by size, is one painting less full today. I am groggy. I am too much awake to sleep more, though I need more sleep. My eyes feel like they are covered in sand paper, and my iced coffee does nothing to quench my thirst (how the hell am I so damned thirsty?). I have a drive ahead of me – hours down the highway, on a weekend likely to be “a long holiday weekend” for about half the long-holiday-weekenders out there taking time off for 4th of July travels.

Between the lake and the sky, there is a distant horizon, whether I can clearly see it or not. “Lake & Sky; Infinitely Blue” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow.

Begin again? Right now I can barely just continue. lol The headache developing could be dehydration… or lack of coffee… or fatigue… or… well… I’m a fucking mammal. A being of light wrapped in a meat puppet that I think I control. lol Who the fuck knows what all the potential missteps and annoyances may actually be? There are probably a lot of possibilities I wouldn’t even know to consider. S’ok. One thing, then another. I shower. Do some yoga. Water my garden. Drink water. Drink coffee. Meditate. Post about the art show (hey, it’s the 21st century, this is a routine form of communication now). Pull myself together a bit at a time, giggling every time I pause to consider that a great many of the Friday night Party People who attended the art show – or the after party – are just finally wrapping things up and going to bed. I’m glad I got a couple hours of sleep.

Here comes the day. It’s the weekend. I’m eager to see my Traveling Partner. Eager to enjoy the day, building on this lovely moment, right here. My heart feels light in spite of the world being rather irksome. It’s something to savor, to build on, and to enjoy. It’s not just okay to feel good in dark times – it’s really rather necessary. Without the good times, emotional fatigue can set in, and then what? We’re no good to each other if we are not able to feel what is good and pleasant and right in our moment, in our day – in our world. So. Today seems a lovely one to take a breath, and enjoy this bit, while this enjoyable bit lasts.

…Then later, I’ll begin again. πŸ˜‰

Friday was efficient. Purposeful. Carefully planned. Strictly and professionally executed to plan. Wrapped up neatly with a clear-headed, safe, and calm drive down the highway, arriving at my destination “on time” (meaning to say I got there when I said I would).

Saturday was beyond complete. Spent in the company of close friends and loved ones, the sort of assortment commonly called family by a great many people, it was a day of sunshine, of laughter, of heartfelt worship, of sharing, of celebration, of healing, of wonder, of joy, and of music. It was a fantastic fucking day all around.

Sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I grabbed a nap, knowing I would be heading back up the highway in just a few hours. I woke and enjoyed being surrounded by warmth, good humor, and merriment before packing up the car to make the journey back to this place that I live. I had a good cup of coffee. I shared the morning sunshine. I cuddled dogs, and hugged friends, and held my Traveling Partner so so so close, for an endless moment of such intense love that I feel it still, even now.

What a perfectly lovely weekend!! I sip my Monday morning coffee soaking in the memories, smiling.

I’d kind of like to erase my memory of the drive back…but that’s not really how having a shitty memory actually works. Not quite. Being able to simply choose to erase a memory isn’t so easily done with wisdom, anyway; there’s something to learn here. It’s the hard bits that teach us the most. So.

The drive home sucked. lol It’s that simple. What can I learn from that? What can I learn from the juxtaposition of the deliciously loving weekend with that shit drive? Could I point the finger to having made the trip on less than ideal sleep? (Not really; I was feeling well-rested when I woke, and I was very-well-caffeinated when I started down the road.) Was it the weather? (Clear weather, dry pavement, sunny morning, partly cloudy – so, no.) The traffic? (Traffic was light, and generally moving at or faster than the posted speed, so… it’s hard to say it was the traffic.) Was it… the people? (Here’s where it gets complicated…) I had some of the most hair-raising experiences on this particular commute. I maintained a comfortable (for me) speed without much difficulty, and was generally in good humor and patient about moments of congestion near cities and towns, and I want very much to say it wasn’t the people… because… if it was…? I was one of those, too. Was it… me?

By the end of the drive, it is enough to say, I wasn’t just glad to have parked the car, and finish the journey, I was sort of feeling regretful that there would soon (this morning) be yet another requirement to get behind the wheel at all. :-\ (It was that bad, yeah.) I feel nervous and reluctant. I feel anxious in advance. I feel hesitant and insecure.

Fuck, that was a shitty drive. lol

That drive was also just a blip on life’s radar. Just a moment. A single journey from point to point, and completed demonstrably safely inasmuch as I am safely here, and no collisions, no tickets, nothing “really happened” that had any lingering obvious consequence on the participants of the day. I’m okay right now. I take a deep breath and let it go (again). Making myself mindful that it is behind me, and aware of how spectacular the weekend was in other ways. I think about those things, and make a point of thinking more about them than about the aggravations of the drive back. That’s what works.

A few minutes into this practice, and it becomes easier to acknowledge my own role in the drive back; I was feeling annoyed to be leaving what now feels like home to head to a place that doesn’t at all. To live a life that has begun to feel more lonely than solitary. I was feeling more energetic than enthusiastic about the drive, and that energy was more artificial (caffeine) than natural (mood). I felt a strong visceral sense of real frustration anytime my speed or flow of movement down the highway was impaired or constrained by another driver’s “shitty decision-making” – nearly always defining that as “getting in my way”, without taking any time to consider the scenario from their perspective, what they hoped to achieve, and what the purpose of their decision really was. I was taking shit exceedingly personally – which, by the way, makes for an incredibly crappy drive. Few things feel as irritatingly unpleasant as the perception of a hostile universe undermining my experience in the moment. Few things that feel that unpleasant are also so entirely and completely made up and “all in my head”… right?

There wasΒ one guy, one moment, one time out of my weekend driving which clearly was indeed “personal”, intentional, and an attack on my perceived self by another human being (definitely having his own experience) who – rather randomly and at great personal and community risk – slammed on his brakes on the highway, in the fast lane, at high-speed, immediately in front of me, while flipping me off, after I flashed my high beams at him as a request to move to the right hand lane when it was clear (to me) that I was closing in on him pretty fast, and he was “just camping out” in the passing lane with no traffic alongside him, ahead of him, or anywhere near him at all. I did so from many car lengths back. He waited to execute his potentially deadly maneuver until I had closed the distance to about 2 car lengths. When I moved to go around him (figuring slamming into him made a lot less sense) he whipped into that lane immediately ahead of me, still flipping me off. He did this twice more, accelerating, then slamming on his brakes, and blocking my ability to safely get past him. It was clearly personal for him. He was definitely having his own experience. That also happened on the trip down, not the trip back. When I think back on the drive home, there’s really nothing of significance to consider. Turns out, as it happens, my crappy experience yesterday may have been 100% purely entirely my own. I feel the looks of puzzlement and awareness try to form on my face at the same time; that angry man was likely having a shit drive, or a bad day, himself. It wasn’t anything more to do with me than my drive yesterday was really anything to do with anyone but me. Huh.

I laugh and finish my coffee. We covered this in the very beginning, I tell myself, with a smile and a shake of my head. It’s in The Four Agreements. It’s at the top of my reading list. lol

A new day. A new commute. And also – not new, or different, at all. Routine. Practices. I have another chance to be a better human being behind the wheel of my car. So do you. It’s a good day to begin again. πŸ™‚

Yesterday got off to a great start, and finished, rather literally, with a bang. Well, more of a crash. I got tail-ended in rush hour traffic. No “lol”, no emoji, no minimizing, no catastrophizing; I got hit from behind by an inattentive driver while I was stopped, with sufficient force to leave an impression of her license plate frame in my bumper. It wasn’t what I planned for the evening, it certainly wasn’t what I expected, but it is a thing. It occurred.

I’m okay.

It was a generally weird day that stands out a bit in a sort of “report card” fashion, because quite frankly an ever-loving-shit-ton of stuff (all super strange oddball outliers of events and circumstances) went peculiarly sideways yesterday, a lot of it rather inconsequential, some of it to do with money, all of it touching on the sorts of things that would have grievously triggered me even a year ago. I’d have been emotionally incapacitated, flooded, and completely overwhelmed by a day like yesterday. It most likely would have sent me crashing into a period of learned helplessness and despair that could last weeks, punctuated by reactive relief-seeking acting-out that wouldn’t have helped at all, probably made things much worse.

This morning, I am relaxed after a good night’s sleep. I feel pretty comfortable physically. I’m still on for my trip down to see my Traveling Partner, and don’t seem to be dealing with any significant after-effects of yesterday’s experiences. Things seem quite fine, actually. As though yesterday were entirely separate from today in every way, other than being adjacent to one another on a calendar page. So. Apparently it is possible to “enjoy” a day of utter chaos, with some destruction and loss, and yet somehow not go to pieces, not melt down, not lay waste to whatever is left to hold on to… It’s possible to do a bit better than merely survive what is uncomfortable, chaotic, and destructive. That’s some good news right there. πŸ™‚

I got hit hard enough that I felt light-headed and strange when I got out of the car. Wobbly. Worried about my back, my neck, my head – the other driver. Late into the evening I continued to wonder if the persisting headache was from being struck, or just another persisting headache like so many? This morning – no headache. That’s enough. I slept well, and I feel comfortably able to get back in the car and drive down the highway. Road trip!

Today feels like a good day for beginnings. I find myself hoping this particular day includes a big reduction in the quantity of weird shit going on compared to yesterday. lol Yesterday was a bit much to take, and I’d started to feel a bit.. hexed. Still… wow. How much more well-prepared for living life am I, that yesterday didn’t destroy me? Didn’t even blow me off course! That’s… yeah. Wow. I gotta stop celebrating at some point, though; it is far to easy (for me) to let a moment of celebration become a careless presumption that I am “entirely well” or in a place where I “don’t even have to worry about any of that”, and I lose myself in a quagmire of poor decision-making and frivolous use of resources, and find myself both accountable, and unprepared to care for myself. Like a kid taking the training wheels off their bike for the first time, then falling on their ass. I’d like to avoid that fall.

I find it best to have my moment, enjoy recognizing the progress I have made, and return fairly quickly to practicing the practices that support my wellness over time, and that meet longer term needs, and keep me on a path that supports my goals. πŸ™‚

So, this morning I begin again. Again. I make choices. I get up gently when the alarm goes off. Yoga. Strength training. A leisurely shower. I check my list and begin doing the small things I’d want done before I return home: top off the aquarium, make the bed, tidy up a few things, drop my kindle in the side pocket of my bug out bag. I look around before I sit down with my coffee to write a few words before the weekend really gets going; is this the home I want to come home to? Will I feel “welcomed” when I return? Will I be comfortably able to just walk in, set down my bag, and chill? Satisfied that I have met the needs of a future me (only days into the future, but you know, we haven’t met, yet, and I do want her to be welcome when she gets home) I relax and make an Americano.

I sip my coffee contentedly. I take a few minutes to check in with friends. I smile thinking about a moment in the office, yesterday. I’d seen a colleague looking a little… well, we’re both veterans, and he had that look of being “stuck in a different moment” and avoided eye contact. I reached out over our messaging service a little later and just asked him how he was doing? He said “I’m good”. I wasn’t sure I believed that, but it’s not necessarily helpful to pry people open like clam shells. I replied “Awesome. Big plans for the weekend?” He sent me an emoji back and commented “That’s a solid buddy check right there. I had a moment, earlier. I’m okay now” and proceeded to tell me about his upcoming plans. We shared a bit. Turned out I felt the need for some support too, but it was less obvious to me that it was to him. The power of connection. The power of relationships and shared experience. That interaction was one high point of a strangely chaotic and messy day.

I’m not sure I’ll ever fully leave some of life’s pain behind me. I don’t really expect to entirely clean up all the chaos and damage – but it is pretty fucking splendid just to be able to live my life without everything seeming to crash down, over and over and over again, like a house of cards in a strong breeze, any time something goes a little sideways. Progress. Incremental change over time. Lots of practices. Lots of verbs. Lots of choices.

Oh hey, look at the time! There’s a highway just over there… and a journey to make. I’ve got a map for this one, but even in this instance, the map is not the journey, and I have to make this trip, myself. πŸ™‚ I’m having my own experience.

It’s definitely time to begin again. See you on Sunday – in the glow of evening light, perhaps? πŸ˜‰