The slow lane

by Ginger on June 24, 2010

in Becoming Myself

This morning I found myself stuck in traffic, as is bound to happen on a weekday commute in Southern California. So there I am, in the fast lane, sitting in almost totally stopped traffic. But what struck me this morning was that while I was sitting there going about 2 mph, the two “slow” lanes were chugging along at about 40 mph. While those of us in the two fast lanes sat almost perfectly still, the slow lanes kept on truckin.

I tend to find myself wishing that things would hurry up. Once I’ve made up my mind that things bother me, or that I want things to be different, I get antsy and want it to happen Right. Now. It’s like I go–ok world, I’ve identified the source of my displeasure, now do your abracadabra act and fix it. Pronto. I want to be in the fast lane.

But honestly, the fast lane isn’t always a guarantee that you’re going to get the end faster. It may seem faster. It may mean that some things happen quicker. But it can also mean that there are a million other people jumping into the fast lane doing the same thing, slowing it all down.

The slow lane though…it may appear to take longer. When you first start out, you see everyone in the slow lane going 45 and everyone in the fast lane going 80. Why would you want to be doing 45 rather than 80? But maybe up ahead there’s some traffic that slows everyone down. But those in the slow lane–they still keep chugging, while the fast lane folks start slamming on their brakes. Is it better to take the slow and steady of the slow lane or the start and stop of the fast lane? Tortoise or the hare?

I need to be ok with being in the slow lane. I WILL change the things I want to change. I’m more strong willed than people realize when it comes to being happy in my life. But I need to be ok with it happening at 45 and not 80.

Lisa June 24, 2010 at 2:12 pm

This is one of the hardest lessons for me to remember. I’m such a “NOW” person, it’s hard for me to set goals for a time far in the future. I’ve started trying to take things on in manageable chunks and just focus on that one little chunk, with the understanding that the one little chunk gets me moving toward the big goal. Otherwise I just get discouraged.

Alexis June 25, 2010 at 4:48 am

Isn’t that the horrible double edged sword of American life! The idea is to keep working and slowly but steadily you can get what you want, yet our entire culture is trained to want stuff now. I know that most of the stuff I “fail” at is because I am never willing to keep going if the results are not immediate. Two pounds lost is not enough to keep me dieting, and extra $10 in savings is not enough to keep me coupon clipping and so on. My only savior is our huge moving list. I now have goals organized on the orders of days to months and have a sense of success when I finish something, but a structure to keep me on those long term goals. It is exhausting, but it is the only way I can keep my act together! The “journal” helps make that 45 feel a lot more like 65.

Ally June 25, 2010 at 6:06 am

I was just observing how last weekend the most frustrated I get in a car is when I’ve already passed a slow person holding up traffic in some inane way and then get passed by said person later on. It makes me feel like I’m not getting anywhere. Granted, I’m really NOT getting anywhere (I think speeding generally gets you somewhere only seconds faster), but I guess I just really cling to the illusion. Driving is such a metaphor for life!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks June 25, 2010 at 10:15 am

As someone who sits through traffic on her daily commute, I can say with utter confidence that the slow lane usually does go faster than the fast lane. Why? Lots of reasons … EVERYONE thinks the fast lane goes faster, so EVERYONE wants to get in it … more people equals slower travel times. Trucks tend to travel in the slow lane and though it’s annoying that they leave a million car lengths between them and the next vehicle, it usually translates to constantly moving instead of stop and go. Vehicles in the slow lane actually EXIT off the highway, leaving more space to speed up … sure, new cars enter the highway, but as stated above, they’re quick to move over into the faster lanes.

My husband and I argue about this all the time – he always gets in the fast lane and then gets stubbornly mad when all he sees are brake lights. =)

Elizabeth June 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I’m the kind of driver who just wants to MOVE. I don’t care if we’re just crawling along, but the dead stops in the fast lane drive me nuts, so I happily stay in the slower lanes. In life, I just want to know where things will end up, and sometimes the slow lane is beyond frustrating. Thank goodness for brakes!

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