A vehicle behind me approached too fast, started tailgating me on the hill. I hate that feeling—of being pressured on the road (and I was doing the speed limit, maybe even riding a km or two over). A specific thought jumped into my head: Just keep your eyes on where you want to go.
I can sometimes be a bit of a nervous driver. I’m a good driver, and I love to drive—but I never feel invincible anymore. My sense of mortality kicked in about the same time I had children. I became aware (God forbid, please) that they could die young—and so could I. But I digress. As I said, I love to drive. I just, sometimes, am too aware of how many pounds my car weighs as it hurtles itself along the highway. And I’m too conscious of other drivers who are not as conscious of their responsibility and the fact that they too are propelling thousands of pounds of steel in other people’s direction.
I’m also, at times, overly cognisant of the surface of the road—worn ridges that shouldn’t be there. Pits and grooves—sink holes. Worse: angles that aren’t conducive to hugging you to the curve.
Someone once told me that the airport hill is such a road—that its angle is wrong and you’re slightly more prone to going off the road there because of it. I’m occasionally plagued by that fact—or fiction—especially when there’s an idiot behind me.
When my nerves shift into overdrive, however, I recall the sage line I mentioned above—I think it was given by my husband, but don’t tell him I credited him with it. Keep your eyes on where you want to go. Don’t panic.
It’s good advice for nervous drivers, novice drivers, and for people learning to ride bikes. You will over correct and zig and zag on the road until you learn to focus ahead of you, not on the nose of your car. And you’ll wibble and wobble, won’t be able to balance, will fall off your bike if you don’t learn to look ahead at where you want to go instead of staring down at where you are. (How I wish I’d had my husband around when I was eight or so and learning to ride a bike!)
Keep your eyes on where you want to go. Calming, practical advice for drivers and wannabe bicyclists, yes—but also good advice for life.
I’m a bit of a nervous liver (as in one who lives, not the organ responsible for aiding digestion, making proteins, and getting rid of toxins!). Not always, but sometimes, I get hung up in the details of where I am in the moment, the crisis of the instance, the busyness of the immediate.
Whether it’s writing or other work related goals, relationship desires, financial plans, or personal improvement endeavours, I can get mired up in where I’ve been or where I seem to be stuck. It’s good to remember that by looking forward, we move forward—and often just by embracing that truth, anxiety eases.
It was a beautiful drive—vibrantly green, with air so fresh and sweet as it rushed in through the open window that I grinned like mad just because life is good. I drove, and I thought, and I kept my eyes on where I wanted to go.
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“Driving Thoughts” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, May 29, 2013 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”