Road Rage

I have resolved to let go of my road rage.

I never thought I would be one to have road rage. Prior to finally driving on my own this year, I had always seen myself as a peaceful person, and didn’t understand when people got angry at other drivers. That was before I ventured into the world of Manila traffic.

Before I started driving on my own, my mom instructed me with tips on driving in Manila. One such tip was to accelerate when the light was green as you never know how long you’ll have to wait for the next green light. Another was to make sure you are almost kissing the car in front of you at all times when the road is busy, so other cars can’t cut in front of you.

Armed with these tips, I thought all would be well and good when I got on the road solo. It’s been over a month since I’ve started driving now, and I was surprised to find that I experienced my own version of road rage. Every time I drove somewhere, I felt like I was racing to get to my destination. I had to cross an intersection when the light was green, no matter what it took to get there. If I had to cut cars or accelerate like mad, I would, just to get to the other side and not have to wait for another green light. Driving actually gave me anxiety. I started to dread driving and saw it as a chore.

The other night, as I was driving home, I got into a slight tiff with another car. I think I accidentally swerved in front of it, perhaps startling the driver, and so she honked at me a few times as I drove ahead of her. Because she honked at me what I thought was an unnecessary number of times, I decided I would do all I could to not let her outtake me. At one point, when I saw she was finally going to surpass me, I looked specifically at the driver’s seat to see who the driver was. To my surprise, she also peered out to look at me, with an annoyed/who-is-THIS-person?! look on her face. That little confrontation put a damper on the rest of my night and put me in a bad mood.

It even got to the point where two nights ago, I had a nightmare where I got into a car crash due to my reckless driving. That was the tipping point. My mom had always cautioned me to “Drive slowly”, and I would always mindlessly say yes, without really heeding her call.

Today I set the intention to stop with the road rage. To take it easy and slow while driving, unless I am truly in a rush. To let cars cut in front of me if they really have the urge. To stop feeling anxious when driving, and just relax. To breathe while driving. It felt good. As silly and inconsequential as it may sound, it felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

Going to apply this lesson to other aspects of my life – to let go of being so uptight and wanting to be in control over things that don’t matter in the grand scheme. To take a break, breathe, and slow down when needed. To not expend excess energy on things that aren’t important.

I invite you to do the same. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Om, friends!

xo,

J

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