Me and My Giant, Day 3: Learning to Love the Things that Slow Us Down

Ahhh, day three out on my bicycle for the year.

After the initial complaints from my rear-end about the fact that I don’t have a cushy gel seat on my bike, my ride was quite pleasant. Until I turned around. Holy cow, was it windy going the other direction. No wonder I was zooming along just fine on the way out!

The combination of riding against the wind and getting stuck behind a tractor for a half mile got me thinking about all of things that slow us down during the day/week/month/year(s). While my muscles like to complain about biking into the wind, I find that I don’t really mind it all that much. Just like I’ve never really been bothered about getting stuck behind a tractor (even in a car, which happens frequently in Wisconsin).

The reason I’ve never really been bothered by these things is because there are just some things in the world that, by nature, remind us that every now and then we need to slow down, look around, take a deep breath, and remember that the world doesn’t revolve around us. On the occasions when things like this do bother me, I try to remember that if I’m truly set back in my day by 2, 3, or 5 minutes, then I’ve done a very poor job of managing my time, and it’s my own fault I’m feeling rushed, not the farmer’s (or anyone else’s, for that matter).

Tractor with Cars PassingI think things like this happen all the time in our lives. I also notice that more and more, people are inconvenienced by things that happen throughout the day that might slow them down by a few seconds or a few minutes. I notice these things even more when I’m on my bike — like the line of cars that were taking every chance they could get to pass that tractor to save themselves a couple minutes on their drive. I didn’t have the “luxury” of trying to pass the tractor because it would have been dangerous for me to try. Since I didn’t have anywhere else to be, I didn’t mind. But even still — around here, if you’re “stuck” behind a tractor, generally you can be pretty certain the driver is going from his farm to his field, or from one field road to another. And generally, the distance a farmer needs to drive on the road is typically very short.

So why do we let things like this bother us so much? Why can’t we just sit back and relax a little bit? Have we really reached the point where we can’t cool our jets for a half mile, and we have to honk or attempt to pass someone in a potentially unsafe situation just to get somewhere a minute sooner?

I’ve definitely put myself in situations where I am so pressed for time that a minute or two could make a huge difference to me. However, that is my own fault. It is not the fault of the driver of the tractor, who is just doing his job. The only person I can ever really be frustrated or upset with is myself.

I think that’s an important point that we often forget. Not always, but much of the time, the inconveniences we experience in our lives are not really the fault of another person. Often, they are our own time management, or our own attitude about the situation that causes us to feel upset, frustrated, or angry. In situations that do make us feel this way, I find it helpful to start to appreciate these things that slow me down. They help me to realize that I’m not the only one in this world who has worries, concerns, a job to do, or a life to lead.

This was my “mediation” for the day, while I was out doing one of the things I love doing more than anything. What about you? Agree? Disagree? Think I’m nuts? It’s very possible, you know…

About Jamie Schwoerer

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