Thursday, January 03, 2008

Changes of attitude

A few years ago, I had a counselor who was in her early 50's and going through "the change". During one session, we were talking about how a woman's changes quite a bit after she turns 40. I think it applies to most people at the age of 40 actually.

Along with the physical changes: eye sight worsens, weight gain, achey backs, creaky knees, adult acne, wrinkles, grey hair etc, there are the psychological changes. These are so different to each individual, but she was sharing with me that once she hit 45, things started to bother her less. The "I don't give a fuck" attitude started to creep in. It was also more of a change in her view of things as well: kids riding their skateboards along the sidewalks in shopping centers use to really bother her and she had no problems telling them that they were a nuisance. As she went through this change, it became more of a waste of energy to get angry at such things.

What did it really matter anyway? They weren't skateboarding where people were actually walking, they found an area that was kind of a dead space. If someone did walk by, they stopped and let them through and then continued on when they passed.

No harm to anyone.

The point of this conversation was to show me how to look at things a bit differently. Road rage was something that used to be a problem for me. I am, I will admit, an assertive driver! My goal is to get from Point A to Point B in the least amount of time possible. If you impede my passage, you will get the evil eye, the one finger salute, some nasty epithets and a honk of my horrible horn.

I am starting to learn, at 44 years old, that there are things that aren't in your control! Hitting every red light imaginable, getting stuck in a traffic jam, car problems, getting stuck behind someone S-L-O-W, police cars to name a few.

I did a little experimenting with my commute to see how the outcome was effected.

My drive to work is 87 miles one way. In the mornings, traffic is seldom an issue. My commute is mostly highway so traffic lights are only a problem at the beginning and end of my trip. On an average day, it takes me approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes from my house to the parking garage. My average speed is 75 - 80 mph, depending on how many speed traps I see on the way.

The way home is a little longer time wise because I have to deal with traffic coming out of the city and there are a few bottlenecks that I have to go through. One average, it only adds another 5 - 10 minutes to my commute.

Trying to be aware of how aggressive I normally drive, I attempted to slow down a bit, be a little more courteous to my fellow drivers, loosen up my grip on the steering wheel and over all just try to relax. If someone cut me off, I didn't blow up. If someone drives under the speed limit in the passing lane, I just went around them and didn't give them the evil eye. When Speedy Gonzalez comes up behind me flashing his lights...I move over and let him pass. If I got stuck in traffic or if I just missed that light because the car in front of me is not in the same hurry that I am, I kept telling myself...I will still get there.

And you know what? I still got there.

The difference in time from door to parking garage and parking garage to door...minimal. 2 - 3 minutes.

I am less stressed, calmer, more relaxed.

This change has come very slow mind you, and I still find that assertive NJ driver coming out at times, because you have to admit it...some people just drive like fucking idiots!

Overall though, I am trying to be more aware of how I look at things and little by little it is working.

"I don't give a fuckedness" is not a solution to everything, but it sure does help with some of the less important things that I don't have any control over.


The Village Carpenter said...

OMG, that's a heck of a commute. Mine is literally 3 steps from the bedroom to my office.

People do drive like idiots; it's no wonder there is so much road rage.

Shazza said...

You're very lucky! I do work from home 2 days a week. It does help.

Sharkb said...

You make excellent points. Since I identified road rage as one my issues following a semi-dangerous incident some years ago, I decided to assume that all people who were driving idiotically had to pee desperately and were either racing in order to make it to the toilet or driving slowly in order to not jostle the bladder. It certainly amps my empathy levels since I find myself in a similar situation at least once a day.

But I'm glad I'm only on the 50 mile one way commute!

Presbyfruit said...

I only have 9.4 miles and people do drive like fuckin' morons!

As someone who used to get bent out of shape about EVERYTHING (due anxiety, depression, and a touch of OCD), I've found as I've gotten older that I care less and less about the stupid shit. And I like it!

Presbyfruit said...

I mean I like not caring.