I'm really enjoying life in the slow lane.
There's a lot of hype about the fast lane, but I've learned in the last few weeks that it's WAY over-rated.
I've always gone about 10 mph over the speed limit. I've had my reasons for believing that you will never get a ticket for going 10 over or less, and in my 15 years of experience, I have never been pulled over for doing any less than about 13 over, which reinforced my belief. It may or may not be true, but it's my perception, so there you go.
Well, I got pulled over by a gold SUV a few months ago. (As an aside, I think it's awesome how cops are starting to go undercover. There are a lot of people who only slow down when they see a cop. You'd never think the gold SUV behind you is a cop until it's too late.) I was going 10 over, but I was in a hurry and every time I'd look at the speedometer, I had pushed it up to 15 over, so I'd try to slow it down, but I was living right there on the edge, and it really made me mad at myself when I got pulled over.
After that, I tried to be more careful, but I was still driving in the 10-over range.
Well, I decided a month or so ago that I would try an experiment. I started driving 5 over and I was absolutely, jaw-droppingly amazed at how much less stressed I felt as I drove around town. I coupled that with a serious effort at leaving for things early and I was so very excited at my new-found knowledge that I could actually slow it down a bit and not feel like I had to stay right on the tail of the guy in front of me.
A week or two into the experiment, I was talking to my dad about it and it hit me - if I felt that much better slowing it down to 5 over, what would I feel like if I actually drove the speed limit? I was afraid to try. I didn't want to be that car that has a million people piled up behind them, cursing them for going so slow and making everybody late.
But, I decided to try it and the most amazing thing happened. It seemed like the whole world slowed down, almost as if everyone was in slow motion. When I drive the speed limit, I feel like I can just lean back against the seat-back and breathe. Nothing bothers me. I accelerate a lot less vigorously now, and I start slowing down for lights long before I used to, rolling to a stop instead of screeching to one.
Now, I'm wondering what all the hurry was about. I get everywhere I need to go in almost the exact same amount of time I used to get there in. I have to admit, I do feel stressed when I'm going 25 and someone gets on my tail and there's no way to pass. I speed up to about 5 over at that point, but then I tell myself not to let them bully me into speeding. So I try to just breathe deep breaths, force myself to relax, and go 5 over until they're past.
In 6 days, I'm about to take my slow-down experiment to the next level. I'm actually going to move out of the slow lane and park my car on the shoulder. My husband and I are going on an 11 - count them, 11 - day vacation. 11 days and 10 nights of absolute, blissful freedom. We'll be on a cruise for 5 of those nights. Talk about parking your car on the side of the road. We'll be pulling our beach towels out of the trunk and setting them up right there off the side of the freeway - figuratively speaking, of course.
I'm going to miss my kids like crazy and worry about them, but it is going to be soooo nice to go snorkeling off the coast of Mexico, ride roller coasters at Six Flags, make out whenever I feel like it, day or night. *blush* Did I just say that? At least most of you have probably stopped reading by now. :)
Seriously, I don't think I've ever done anything half this exciting and fun in my life. DH and I never even had a Honeymoon. The closest thing to this that we've ever done is a 2 day, 1 night trip to Victoria, BC for our 10 year anniversary. That was just a small taste of what this vacation is going to be like.
Back to the original point of my post - I highly encourage everybody to just slow down and relax. In this fast-paced world, we all need to relax a little bit. You don't have to go to the spa to get pampered - pamper yourself right on the freeway by relaxing on your way to your kids' next soccer game.