It happens a lot
I am driving my 7th grader to the middle school and we come up the stretch of the road leading to the entrance of the school. The left lane has to go straight and the right lane turns right to head to the school. As soon as we round the curve on the road it is like a race gun goes off at a start line, the race is on. People begin jockeying for position, running way too hot into the curve and sliding in by mere inches into a spot one maybe two cars closer than they were. This morning in particular it was a giant white SUV. He was behind me in the right lane and as soon as the curve hit he zipped around me to get that all important 12 feet gain. When we go to the actual carpool line this particular car then began to weave between the two lines of carpool trying to gain a few more feet….
This is pretty normal, but that morning we had already almost been t boned at the three way stop intersection by my house by a car who was going around 40 into the intersection gave a quick look and never even tapped the breaks. I was just waiting for a string of police cars chasing behind him as he was driving like he had canvas bags with dollar signs stuffed in his back seat.
I was pretty mad when I pulled back in my driveway.
Of course I was upset about how inconsiderate and dangerous the cars were. About the way their driving and disregard for each other showed such a lack of concern for human life, theirs and others. And while these things upset me, I found myself even more upset and even sad about the desperate, struggled, and frantic flailing so many of us participate in, in order to “get ahead".”
I talked with my wife about it and we both agreed; rarely is the amount of effort, strife and frantic existence worth the payoff. As I thought more on this idea I could not help but imagine a child when they are first learning to swim: they jump into the water with excitement and terror, flailing their arms and legs as fast as they can, causing an enormous amount of water displacement, and making a giant ruckus, only to barely keep their head above water for a few moments, until they begin to sink having burned through and exhausted all of their resources and energy.
Do you know what separates Usain Bolt from you and I? It is not just that he is an insanely good athlete and gold medal sprinter. It is rhythm. Usain, like all top tier runners, know that the key to racing is not how hard you run, it has more to do with rhythm and locomotion. There is an art to how these elite athletes move their bodies. Everything has to move in time and in beat with everything else and when they perfect that, that is when the magic happens.
Listen to me, because I care (and because I am often preaching this message to myself) stop running so hard, stop splashing, struggling and flailing out of control. Stop letting the terror and the fear of drowning cause you to live life out of control. It is not worth it. It is not worth cutting each other off in traffic, missing the people around us, ignoring what is for what is next. Stop rushing through this amazing opportunity called life and start savoring it. Find your rhythm, your flow, your base notes and begin dancing. Find your groove and let the current work for you and not against you.
Remember the giant white SUV? After all of the speeding, bobbing and weaving, we get to the red light coming out of carpool line and I look in my rearview mirror and guess who I see? The giant white SUV. I looked in my rearview and wanted better for them. I hoped they would recognize the back of my car and remember it from the past 10 minutes of doing everything they could to get in front of it, to beat it. I hoped that it would cause them to reconsider, to see the futility of their stress and pace and stop flailing. I hope the same for myself and for you as well.