For the first time in a long time, I sat in traffic today. They are paving a section of road here in town, and while every time I drive by they are in a different area, it seems to be taking them forever. Today was no exception, except that they made traffic take forever as well, making us sit there for about 5 minutes without moving. In a big city like Los Angeles where I used to live, that would be considered a free-flowing, light-traffic day. But here in Taos, that’s a traffic jam! However, I have found the secret to not getting frustrated while stopped in traffic – take a look around. Once you start looking around instead of cursing and concentrating on the bumper of the car in front of you, it’s amazing where your mind can go. For instance, in those 5 minutes I was stopped on the road I:
- Saw a cool passive-solar house behind some bushes that I had never seen before because I normally am driving 45 MPH right by it
- Watched a cow play with her calf for a minute
- Chatted with a guy in the car next to me (well, he is my neighbor and it would have been rude not to)
- Thought of and wrote down a few blog post ideas for all my sites
- Saw a mom let her very young son hold the sprayer at the car wash, much to his delight
- Realized that there are very few things in life I need to be in a rush for!
What my roads normally look like
In reality, we are rarely in a hurry to be or get anywhere at all…we just don’t like sitting still in traffic. A few extra minutes on any given occasion is not going to make or break you 99% of the time, so why not do something for yourself when stuck in those situations? Notice a neighborhood you are normally too busy speeding through; check out what kind of trees line the side of the road; watch some people eating lunch in the local diner. Take stock of what is going on around you in those moments! Dream up a vacation you want to take, a meal you want to cook, call a friend you keep meaning to call, or figure out something special you want to do with your kids. Don’t waste your energy being upset about some traffic and a delay of a few minutes; turn that “downtime” into something constructive!