People who know me - or more specifically, who have been in the car while I have been driving - know my patience all but disappears when I'm behind the wheel. I have little tolerance for drivers who do not pay attention, who will not use a directional, who make driving the second or third thing they're doing while they are in the car, and who get in my way while doing any combination of these things. I yell, I beep, I show them the state bird. The thing is, I'm not sure why I lose control so easily. Maybe because I think of motor vehicles as dangerous weapons and the users need to be careful. You want to run a stop sign while on the phone and smoking and yapping at your passenger - do it someplace else but do not do it front of me.
Yesterday, my husband and I took my stepdaughter Jill up to Orono, Maine to visit a college. It is a four hour trip each way. I demanded that he split the driving with me. He really does not enjoy my driving and considering how patient a man he is, well .... He finally agreed. Because the roads were dry and there was very light volume, he suggested I just set cruise control and relax. We had many miles of moose warnings and I really needed to keep my eyes on the sides of the road and not the speedometer. Cruise control it was. And what a difference. I found myself far more relaxed than I ever am in the car. I did the same thing on the way home and again found myself much more relaxed than I was used to. Why do I never use it? What a waste of a neat feature.
This morning I did it on the way to church, and again it worked! I relaxed. I had my speed set and what everyone else was doing really was not my problem. I just did my own thing and made my way without incident (and with lower blood pressure).
During my drive I was thinking about cruise control, both in the car and in my life. Over the last two days it has really been great in the car. But when I looked at my life I realized that I've been too much on cruise control lately and have not been as in tune as I needed to be. I've been out of work for 13 months and the search process has been exhausting and dehumanizing to say the least. In late January I began two classes toward a paralegal certificate. In addition to spending a couple of hours each day on my job search, I now spend 5-6 hours per day on school work. I am doing really well in both classes and am pretty proud of myself, but I put my life on cruise control to do it and I am not sure it was the best idea.
I love going to the gym, especially spinning. Yet, for the last few weeks, at the end of each day I am so exhausted, I have not been going. I have sacrificed my fitness because I had to hit cruise control to keep myself on track. The thing is, I miss it so much but cannot seem to make myself go. And that bothers me.
So I'm done with cruise control outside of the car for now. Tomorrow night I will be back on the bike where I belong. My school work and job search and laundry and house cleaning will also be done, but if they are not, it will be OK. I have another chance on Tuesday to get everything done.
I think it is very easy to get into a rut. In fact, I know it is easy. Getting out should be just as easy. All I have to do is tap the brake and cruise control turns off.
If you find yourself needing to let go of a little control or needing to take some back - I say to you - look at your cruise control. If it is on, tap the brake. If it's off, set it and make your life a little bit easier.