Speed kills

blogDSCN0202Some days I think we’re all just like hamsters.

We jump on that little wheel and run, run, run but don’t really get anywhere.

It seems the world keeps spinning faster and faster and I find myself wanting to just jump off.

The speed of life keeps increasing when all I want to do is slow down.

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” ~Mohandas Gandhi

Case in point.  I live in a rural area outside of a very small town.  You would think that life in these parts would be lived at a slower pace.  We’re less than an hour away from a large city, but our roads aren’t too congested with traffic.

But drive on any of our area roads – either the four-lane highway, two-lane roads, or even our back country roads – and someone is pushing you along from behind, tail-gating you even when you’re driving the speed limit or higher.   Cars zoom past even when there are no safe passing zones.

On my way to work,  my quickest route is a highway.  Each day, cars whip by me in the passing lane like I’m standing still.  Don’t they know that speed kills?

Just recently, three car accidents resulted on one stretch of that highway in one week’s time.  Now we have had more than our share of wintry, snowy, icy weather, but that particular week, the weather was warmer, there was no rain/sleet/snow and the sun was actually shining.

So the accidents could not have been blamed on weather conditions.  And they couldn’t even be blamed on other inattentive drivers because all three crashes were one-vehicle incidents.

One was a pick-up truck that was literally smashed on all sides and all of the air-bags were blown out.  How on earth did that person cause a one-vehicle accident like that on a straight stretch of a four-lane highway with very little traffic (and no dead deer in sight either)?

I have to believe it was speeding.

So that got me to thinking.  Speed kills.  Not just literally by driving too fast on the highway, but in other areas of our lives as well.

We used to communicate by spending time together in meaningful conversations.  Now we send short and immediate text messages instead.

We used to put our thoughts down with pen on paper, sign our name, address an envelope, and send our loved ones and friends a letter.  Now we dust off a quick email and it instantaneously arrives in their virtual mailbox.

We used to wait for the newspaper to be delivered to our home to read about the latest news.  Now we just log into our computers and scan what latest items some web site deems newsworthy or check everyone’s statuses on Facebook or Twitter or other social media.

We want everything faster and immediately from our food to our health test results.  And we want it now!  I’ve fallen into this speed trap more times than I’d like to confess.

Hubby and I were out for dinner one evening and our waitress was a tad slow in taking our order, then we waited quite a while for our food to arrive.  I started to complain out loud to my husband, but caught myself and stopped.

But I could tell hubby was getting agitated.  So I asked him, “Why are we in such a big hurry? We’re just going home after this.”

And it was true.  We weren’t in a time-crunch.  We had nowhere to arrive on time.  Nothing to hurry for.  So why was the wait so unbearable?

The truth is, it wasn’t.  As we gulp our food and rush off to wherever we think we have to be, we’re forgotten how to be patient.  We’ve lost the art of slowing down and truly enjoying life.

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”  ~Will Rogers

When I was a kid there was a popular saying, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”  Sometimes I feel just like that.  Stop the rat race, I don’t want to run it.  Stop the sprint, I want a marathon.

Slow down.  That’s what I want to do. Slow down and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.  Slow down and spend time in actual conversations with those I love.  Slow down and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the park. Slow down and enjoy this life I’ve been given.

And just to confirm that my thoughts were on target, I received this email from an acquaintance that I don’t see very often any more.  Earlier in the week, I had suggested we get together soon to catch up with how life’s treating us.  Her response was, ‘Yes, let’s get together!  Life is too short not to make time.”

So today, on this best day of the year, I’m reminding myself that speed really does kill.  It kills patience, it kills conversations, it even can kill friendships.

“Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.  Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.” ~ Nancy Simms

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

  

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14 responses

  1. Excellent post! You brought up some great points. We have become so “fast” in this life; we all should take your advice and slow down a bit…. I’m going to remember that. Enjoy your day!

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    • I hope you enjoyed your day too! It’s true we all need to slow down. I find myself longing for a much simpler and slower life, yet by most folks’ standards now days, I already have one. Maybe I was just born in the wrong century? 😉

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  2. Yes..Yes…and more Yes! You have hit the nail on the head. A very thoughtful approach to a serious subject that we need to address with our grown children before it is too late for them. Thanks for the post!

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  3. I certainly agree! So often I see someone actually violate driving laws to get past my vehicle and find at the next town that they have saved about 4 seconds over my time and sometimes risked their lives and mine to do it. I think I can successfully argue that over 95% of fatal traffic accidents could be avoided by driving at the proper speed. I spent 4 years with a rural fire department responding to vehicle accidents and nearly all would not have happened had the drivers driven at a correct speed for the conditions.

    It is not “weather” that causes accidents, as the media so often proclaims: it is driving at the wrong speed for weather conditions, vehicle conditions and personal ability. I responded to dozens of such accidents driving a rescue vehicle yet never got into one myself… because I drive for the conditions.

    Here in Montana the legal speed is 70mph. I would guess that 90% of the drivers on the road cannot handle that speed if any little thing goes wrong… and it often does. Our accident and fatality rate is very high, and yet every time the subject comes up in the legislature the 70mph limit is retained. We have very little respect for human life and little regard for suffering when that is the case.

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    • It’s interesting to hear your ‘take’ on this subject, Montucky, especially since out there in the West you have those 70 mph speed limits (doesn’t hardly seem like the right word – limits, does it?). Our speed limit is 65 on some highways and 55 on others, yet we have so many accidents too. I’m not sure what the answer is because lowering the limit doesn’t seem to deter drivers from speeding. On the highway I travel most often, our state police have stopped drivers going 95!! Crazy. And oh yes, I certainly agree our society has very little respect for human life.

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  4. This is a wonderful post mama because it’s one of the ones that “hit home.” My two sisters-in-law were killed by a drunk driver who was going too fast. You could blame the head on collision on the drink. But he was in a hurry to get home with all the beer. The result was and is the horror of lost time. He wound up in prison for 20 years and basically lost a huge chunk of his life. The two ladies lost the rest of their lives, one a nurse and the other a loving joyful person – both with so much to give. My husband and I lost all the time we could have spent with them and all the memories we all shared. Speed killed time. And the killer was an irresponsible unlicensed person driving a pick up truck on a country highway within 7 minutes of our small town. We drive slowly by the spot almost every day. Thank you for this post that reminds us all to please slow down.

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    • Oh, Dor, I recall you sharing that story of your sisters-in-law before and it just breaks my heart. Too many people’s lives cut short for what? A few extra seconds or a few extra beers? A human life is so much more precious!!

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  5. I love this!! I’ve started taking the time to put on a Cello Concerto and light a candle before getting into heavy kitchen work – something I didn’t want to take the time for before! The simple things that make life enjoyable are worth a few extra minutes. I just finally decided that if I am too busy to light a candle, I’ve taken on more than God intended me to!

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  6. Great post. I wholeheartedly agree. We live in a rural area and see the same issues. It scares the daylights out of me specially on icy roads. We don’t have icy roads now thank goodness. Last Thursday I was on the freeway and one person was tailgating worse than I have ever seen. He was on my tail the distance of half a car length! I moved over and let him pass simply because I didn’t want to drive with that kind of hazard. Then I saw him do the same to everyone in front of him. I know what it’s like to get a late start in the day and be rushed, but I get the feeling this person drives like this all the time. My husband likes to use the term hurry-up-and-wait. I agree also, we are much too impatient. All the modern conveniences have given us an unrealistic perspective on time.

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    • Elizabeth, same kind of crazy drivers here! Scary people, I call them. Better to pull over and safely be out of their way. I had to laugh at your husband’s “hurry up and wait.” My hubby says the same thing! I’m heading over to your blog to catch up with your posts. I love the name of your blog. God bless!

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  7. Rick and I notice that at a restaurant we will sit, order, eat and enjoy the evening. It amazes us that someone else arrives after we do, will sit, order, eat and be gone before us who arrived earlier than them.

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    • Georgette, what you & Rick do is what I call enjoying your dinner and your evening out. I’m not sure what those other folks are doing, but we see them here too. Not much enjoyment in gobbling down your meal if you ask me. 😉

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