On my daily commute, I give myself ample time to get to work and typically stay in the right lane with other slower drivers. Driving is fun for me. I am proud to be a good, safe driver. Yet at one on-ramp, I am always cut off. Drivers overtake me on the inside and pull right in front of me, causing me to brake. My irritation builds and I arrive at work annoyed at such aggressive driving behaviors.
Over the years, this has happened so many times that I began to protect the space in front of me. Instead of leaving 3 car lengths, I close the gap so the cars that come barreling up can’t jump in front of me. They try but my focus is on protecting my space. I’m determined not to give in.
Recently a car in front of me braked sharply and without my usual 3 car lengths, I had to brake really sharp to avoid rear ending the car in front. I said to myself, “I give up” and mentally raised my hands in surrender.
My annoyance stayed with me at work, I realized how ludicrous it was that I was trying to hold onto the space in front of me while driving over 50 miles per hour.
When I really thought about it, I was shocked at my trying to hold onto, well, nothing really. This is when I became aware of the silliness of my actions. So I decided that the next day, instead of trying to hang onto my space or giving up my perceived space, I was going to surrender that space to the next, would be “cutter upper.”
The next day, a “monster truck” comes barreling up the on-ramp and starts to overtake me on the inside. I let off the gas and waved him on by. To my surprise, through his back window, I saw him wave at me. As he pulled into the next lane, he was still waving. It was such a great quality wave; I couldn’t stop smiling all day at work. I felt great.
From that moment on, I have collected so many waves, even from pedestrians. I’ve even begun to categorize those waves. There’s the looking down, hand up wave, there’s the look me in the eye wave –sometimes with a smile– there’s the little finger wave as people walk past with a cell phone to their ear. However, no one has done the queen’s wave.
Even more fascinating is how I notice my own waves and trust me, I make sure I do the full on smile, look you in the eye, open handed, surrender wave.
Now I realize the insanity of hanging on to this imaginary space I discovered the difference between frustration of giving up and surrendering. I saw the sweetness of surrender as it opens you up to so many new and positive experiences. Of course it has made me a better driver and as I collect more waves, my heart swells.