By: Kathy Shalhoub
Driving my daughter home from school a few days ago I slowed almost to a stop on a particularly large speed bump near our house. A woman in a large SUV behind me got very impatient with me and instead of slowing down, she swerved dramatically around me, jammed the accelerator and flew over the bump, leaving me and a cloud of dust hovering in the space behind her.
The incident got me thinking that many of us deal with the speed bumps we encounter in our lives in very much the same way. We are impatient with ourselves, we are impatient with others, and we just want to keep moving.
It seems that we all forget that speed bumps are there for the specific purpose of slowing us down in the first place! And we’re being slowed down for very good reasons: there’s a school close by, we’re nearing an intersection, the road is changing or there are children at play.
Why is that so different from the speed bumps we encounter in our everyday lives? Aren’t illness, death, changing jobs or countries, marriage or divorce, childbirth, and difficult choices like staying home with the kids or going back to work, freelancing or setting up a business, etc… all part of the speed-bump mélange?
I personally spent 12 years of my life hurtling towards an objective that I thought was going to be the culmination of all my dreams. When I got to it, I realized that my priorities, my desires and my values had changed completely in those years and I had never bothered to slow down and check on them. My objective turned out to be a dead end that I might have foreseen had I slowed down a little on the way!
I’ve heard that if you do the same thing all the time, you get the same results. So when we’re going through life full speed ahead and we come across a speed bump, doesn’t it make sense to slow down a little, look around and ask ourselves some pertinent questions like, ‘where am I? Where am I going? Is that still where I want to go and is this the best way to get there?’, instead of simply jamming our foot down on the gas and speeding ahead?
Sometimes the full-speed-ahead solution turns out just fine but sometimes, we’re just ignoring the whole point of the speed bump, which is to just slow down, look around and think for a few seconds…
Blogger’s Bio: Kathy studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Paris. She is also a writer and published her first book, Life as a Leb-neh Lover, in 2010. Kathy is fascinated by matters of the mind, self discovery, self acceptance and personal development and is currently researching these topics. Check out her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Lebneh_Lover.