Ed. Note: Is it cheating to re-post? If it is, forgive me, because I originally published this on 5/18/11. If you’ve already read its “Stop & Smell the Roses” sentiment, you may move on! God speed! Meanwhile, stay tuned for the “Teens & Driving” piece that I have on deck. It’s just taking me longer than I anticipated, and the messy bedrooms & teething infants & chatty ‘tweens & watch-a-movie-with-me? teens come first. Love you!
Also? I was asked in the com-box if I have since kicked this bad habit (i.e. checking my smart phone at every stop light). I am proud to say that I HAVE kicked the habit! How? It was easy; I lost my android.
Switching to a “dumb” phone was one of the smartest things I’ve done. : )
There’s a stoplight by my house—on the edge of the highway, on the way to my son’s school—at which I spend an inordinate amount of time just waiting.
Five minutes here, five minutes there…
I figure the total’s up to a good week’s worth of waiting by now.
Pulling to a stop, my foot resting heavy on the break, I look around for something to occupy my time. Usually I grab my phone—a Droid—and check email, Twitter, blog comments, whatever—anything to satisfy the racing demands of my mind.
And I’m not proud to admit this.
Tell me you don’t multitask at stoplights and you will have my admiration! Myself, I am guilty—almost always guilty—of living my life with a false sense of urgency. What’s next? What’s next? What’s next? my mind chirrups. It is a most annoying chorus.
So today we were reading a Dr. Seuss book called Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Perhaps you’ve given it to a special high school or college graduate in your life? The kids and I had never read it before, but I figured what with Jem playing baseball so much and dealing with the highs & lows of the sport…
Well, I thought that the pep talk Seuss gives in this book would suit him.
(Little did I know that it would suit me, too.)
You can get so confused
That you’ll start in to race
Down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
And grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
Headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
Or a bus to come, or a plane to go
Or the mail to come, or the rain to go
Or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
Or waiting around for a Yes or No
Or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone just waiting.
That all certainly sounds familiar.
I could have added any one of a number of things—the things for which I’m waiting. Like…waiting for my coffee to brew, waiting for the house to be clean, waiting for my weight to drop, waiting for my husband to change, waiting for my son’s handwriting to improve, waiting for my daughter’s soccer practice to be over, waiting for the email that will cheer me up, waiting for the rain to stop…
And today I’m thinking, STOP.
I need to stop waiting around for…what? I don’t know. And I need to stop my mind from racing. (This isn’t easy for a hyper-caffeinated mom, as you know. I’m working on that habit, too.)
The very first change I’m making is this: I will try (how I’ll try!) to stop checking my email at all the stoplights. It’s one of my big bad habits, though—enormous, even—and this will take some time.
Lots of time.
Five minute’s worth of time…at a time.
Five minutes of praying, listening, being.
What do you do while you’re waiting at stoplights? Do you stare straight ahead with your eyes on the road, or are you a multi-tasker like me?