Drive better

There have been times in my life I think to myself, “I drive well”. I pay attention to the road and other drivers, I’m not in a hurry, and I practice patience. Other times, I know I have not driven well. I let my concentration lapse, I make poor choices almost to the point of causing accidents, I try to rush through light phases, or I drive while I’m tired. None of these are good traits to espouse when driving a vehicle.

In a similar way there are times in my life I think, “I know where I’m going, and I’m looking forward to putting in the hard work to get there”. More often though, I feel lost and unsure of where to go, let alone how to steer my ship’s wheel to get there. I need to learn to pay attention all the time to keep myself and others safe while driving, and to listen to my instincts, especially when they tell me I shouldn’t be driving. This is not paying attention to the little voice telling me to stay up later or buy lunch more days than I need to, but the spark inside my soul which is always there, quietly guiding me.

Indicators on cars seem like they are becoming even more of an optional extra than they used to be. At least, it seems fewer people are taking the time to use them. Their purpose is right there in the name. Indicate. Proper use lets others know where we are going so they can adjust their driving accordingly to be safe. This is not the same as a token flick for barely a second after already having changed lanes or turned the corner. That is an afterthought. A potentially dangerous one. Yes, there are times when I miss turning my indicator on. BUT. I recognise this and make sure I don’t let my use of indicators lapse. Maybe it is a symptom of having driven for so long we think we can do it in autopilot? (There’s another whole blog post in there, and I think I may have even written one!)

What I need to focus on is maintaining vigilance in all the other aspects of driving too, not just the use of indicators.

One of my pet peeves with pedestrians also involves a lack of indication. Plenty of footpaths are skinny enough you can only have two people walking past each other, one in either direction. Sometimes a footpath is so skinny there is only enough space for one person to walk in either direction. Few people seem to be aware of others moving to pass them from in front of behind. Or they notice but don’t seem to care. The biggest culprits seem to be larger groups. They monopolise footpath space, even when the footpath is very wide, and look on with annoyance when they have to move even a few inches. During our first lockdown in New Zealand people were courteous and ensured there was enough space to walk past comfortably. (I say first because though we are doing well here that doesn’t mean we won’t require another.) People acknowledged others with a smile and made eye contact. I found walking to be much less stressful. Now the footpaths are full of people again, the concept of “keep left” has gone right back out the window. (In other countries which drive on the right hand side of the road I understand it may well be “keep right”, but in no situation is the, “I’m walking here so you can find somewhere else, like the road” appropriate pedestrian etiquette.)

This may sound petty but it is a small action which can help so many more people than we could ever be aware of. Friends, let us open our awareness and choose kindness.

Changing tack a bit, I used to find it difficult to know what I wanted to do in life. The spark inside my soul was alive but I had no idea where it was guiding me. This has meant I’ve become lost several times along the way. I followed the guidance of my parents and my friends, both through them explicitly telling me and seeing what they were doing. If my friends were studying a technology degree, surely it would be a good choice for me? The sector seems like it’s well paid with plenty of job openings, how could I go wrong?

Well, I finished the degree. However, this came with the realisation working somewhere which has the sole aim of making more money was not a place I wanted to be. I understand businesses need to make money to pay employees. If you work anywhere in the corporate world this is true. But people should always factor into the equation. Customers, clients, and colleagues will feel better and be more likely to help if they are treated well and fairly. The organisation I work for now has a strong motivation to help people so I feel good in this job. It also leaves (some) time to write my novels, enter story competitions with my dad, play and record music, play video games with a good story, and read books I’ve been meaning to for quite some time.

This is not the perfect job. In fact I want to move towards a more writing focussed working life which might be more along the self-employed track. Even with all this direction from that spark I still get lost a lot. The difference? It doesn’t scare me quite as much as it used to. I pray to God to show me a path through the difficulty, and I get to work to make it happen. I know there is a way to find the right path, even if I have to travel a few of the wrong ones to find it.

How is your driving of cars? Of life? Where might you wish to change direction? Have you got a plan on how to make the moves you want to?

Keeping on keeping on being awesome. Peace.

Cover photo by Taras Makarenko from Pexels.

11 thoughts on “Drive better

  1. AP2 says:

    Nice analogy Hamish. The more attention we can pay to each and every moment the more clear our direction in life becomes. I strongly believe that – but it very much requires a great deal of effort and willpower to cut out distractions in order to see it. I like your point about pedestrian etiquette as well. I‘ve not thought about it much before. In Hong Kong chaos reigns supreme. People pick a spot and walk toward it while staring at their mobiles without taking any notice of anyone else. Take it easy Hamish and drive safe! All the best, AP2 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hamish says:

      Focus on being present. There’s so much temptation to get out phone out and engage in conversation with people elsewhere, or check the news, or play a game, or flick through Facebook. Or… or… or…

      Even using three screens at once! I have been guilty of this, especially during our lockdown. If we spending time with people in person, playing a boardgame, writing something with a pen and paper, or reading thoughtful WordPress posts we value them by giving our full attention. The same goes for walking. By concentrating on it and not letting our mind wander, we will be more prepared with our mind where it needs to be when we get to where we’re going.

      As always, thank you for your thoughtful comment. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. K.L. Hale says:

    I love this post for so many reasons. Paying attention is how I’ve navigated as a pedestrian and driver. And my own job paths, after leaving education, have been curvy. Yes, I need to make money. And like you, I want to “work” where people come first. Truly organizations thrive when less ego is infiltrated. I want more time for writing and music. So I have to pay attention so I don’t run over others, get ran over, and can ride along in peace with others. 💚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hamish says:

      You have so beautifully elaborated on the analogy. Collaboration is so helpful, and we can’t do that if everyone is trying to speak loudest or drive the fastest. If we fall into this pattern we lose what’s important.

      What are the musics that get your gears turning?

      The best advice I’ve heard in the past year is from former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, “Discipline equals freedom.” I’m still struggling to organise my life the right way, the best way, the way God is encouraging me to, so that I can work hard at work, writing and music, in my faith, and also sleep.

      I pray this week God will show you the next little steps, to continue to help and encourage, like you have here. Peace to you. 💙

      Liked by 1 person

      1. K.L. Hale says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful words. 💚 I understand everything you write. Its so amazing to me to find connections, such as you, on this new journey of writing. Even at 50, I’m “reinventing” the way I thought life would look for me. It’s exciting though. And just YESTERDAY my friend I was approved a loan to purchase a small home. I’ve stayed footloose in an RV and feel its time to “make roots” near the rest of my family (and keep RV to leave when I feel the Spirit’s wind you use me). Music 🎶 awww….I grew up singing in church. Gospel music stirs my soul like no other. I’m very eclectic. Old country (not “new”) offers simple strums to complex lives. The Eagles are my favorite band. I love folk, soft rock, and Americana too. Musicals move me ~from Les Miserables to The Greatest Showman track to “The Sound of Music”. My life, your life, everyone’s life,…should be a musical. I gave background music playing all the time in my head. I pray for you too. God WILL keep us on his path through heeding his whispers. It’s not about law is it my friend? It’s about love. Peace to you. ❣️

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hamish says:

    Congratulations on the loan approval! That is very exciting life progression. 🏡 Musicals create wonderment. Sometimes the music everyone is dancing through their life to is so obvious. The music you’ve listed is great, I’m a bit the same when it comes to playing music. Simple chords and powerful lyrics.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your experiences. God shows us the way, we must choose every day to follow with all our heart, all our mind, and all our strength. 🙏

    Like

  4. BluntPathway says:

    Oh Oh Oh I have recently started driving, not the best experience. I am always anxious and I avoid it at times. My life, I think its pretty much the same expect I avoid most human interaction. I am working on improving both aspects. I am making a consistent effort to get better. I could have yelled complements about your posts directly at my computer screen, but you would not have heard anything. Your post is great!. It make me think. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hamish says:

      Thank you so much for sharing. Awareness of things we know we want to get better at is crucial. Driving has always been an enjoyable thing for me. I put on some music and try to be patient. Something that might help, both with driving and human interaction, is to think about the good things that come from it.

      I know this is not always easy, and sometimes that little voice in our head that says “just stay home” is the louder one, but we can do it. Kudos to you for having the courage to work on these things. 😊

      If you want to yell compliments at your computer screen, and it won’t bother anyone, I say do it. I might not hear, but I am humbled to have helped.

      Kia kaha (stay strong) and if I can be of any more assistance, flick a message on through. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  5. PoojaG says:

    I don’t drive but I really enjoyed how you showed the similarities between driving and life. Personally I want to finish my degree and focus more on my blog and becoming a full-time blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

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