Isn’t it strange that you sometimes don’t understand the profound depth of song lyrics till you’re a bit older? “Life is a highway.” True facts, thank you Tom Cochrane. This all stems from my recent experience of caring for my son while my husband was in California. My relationship with motorized vehicles has strengthened my resolve that my child will learn to drive at the age of sixteen. He will then have years of practice and not be like his mother at the age of thirty-two, pretending not to be scared when driving in winter for the first time. The process of reading signs and signals will be second nature to him and this life skill will be much like breathing and not gasping for air.
The other lesson I’ve obtained from a week of shuttling my young son to and from preschool is that it stresses me out when my husband takes business trips. It’s not because of the bedtime negotiations or preparing the meals. No, I just don’t want to get behind the wheel. The stakes are much higher when my most favourite person in the world is in the back seat and I want to be the perfect chauffeur. But like any challenge that makes you grow, the best decision is to always take it on, because practicing is precisely what lowers these stakes.
Most importantly though, I’ve learnt the value of slowing down. When in doubt, put your foot on the brakes (safety permitting), breathe, and figure out how to solve your latest problem. This made me realize that any mistake I’ve made in life has been because I’ve wanted to rush through things. I have a very bad habit of avoiding the pain. Sure sure, I take on the challenge but I also occasionally shut my eyes and wildly make my way through without being focused and deliberate. This is not a good strategy whatsoever. Everything from test scores, performance reviews to the health of relationships are impacted negatively by this type of tactic.
Instead, why not just take your time? I know that we are forever taught to get the answer, to get to the point. You’re rewarded for putting your hand up first in class and it becomes addictive to be the smart, nice girl. This can make us rush headlong towards this type of praise instead of being intelligent with our efforts and mindful about the quality of the product. So, I’ve learnt to slow down because eventually getting it over with just doesn’t cut it anymore. Maybe being in your thirties can make you more self-reflective because you do start to notice the passage of time. I no longer want to waste my time on half-assed results. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in being timely and not letting perfectionist tendencies stall projects. I just don’t believe in distinctly separating the work and play aspects of my life nor prioritizing one over the other. Both deserve your undivided attention.