The other day, I was on my way home after a meeting with a really good friend. It had been the warmest day of the year, with sunshine pouring onto the waterfront we were sitting near.
We’d had a lovely time, looking back over the past two years or so, reflecting on the ups and downs of life and how we so easily fail to truly measure what success looks like.
So, with all those thoughts fresh in my mind, it made it very easy for me to contrast two very different approaches to life, when a self-hire Luton removal van went flying past me and later on, badly cut up a smaller white van. “The Battle of the white Van Men” at first, looked like it could get a bit nasty, even dangerous.
The reason I notice things like this and think about them in varying levels of depth, is because I used to be a victim myself.
I worked for several years in a sales job that required me to drive between 30-40,000 mile per year. With that much driving involved, it is very easy to become an expert (or so I told myself) at dodging in front of other cars, switching lanes at will, and invariably taking it personally whenever someone cut me up.
The trouble with all of that attitude is that it simply doesn’t work.
Later on during my journey home, the car next to me was in the right hand lane at a traffic light-controlled roundabout and then cut up several cars in front of me to take the single lane exit he needed. He was one of those drivers that anyone with an ounce of discernment could tell was an habitual “cutter-upper”. I couldn’t help grinning to myself when just a mile or so down the road, he was behind me, simply through being stuck in the slower of the two lanes.
My point is this: you can try and live Life in the Fast Lane but really it inevitably leads to Death. If not literal, due to the increased risks, then gradual – through the stress, increased heart rate, failure to achieve what you genuinely thought was within your grasp – and every other form of malady that more easily sets up residence in your heart whenever you fail to slow down.
Do I ever drive fast? Of course I do. I love it. And I would probably do it more if my car was in better shape and there weren’t so many speed cameras around.
But do I get upset whenever someone overtakes me? Thankfully, this no longer offends me.
And just in case you think that I have experienced a Damascus Road experience as I politely wave at my fellow drivers driving faster than me, remind me one day to show you how to save a great deal of time at certain roundabouts without sacrificing your senses. It is a bit naughty I will admit but at least it doesn’t upset anyone else. Well, most of the time!