Traffic. Something most people experience on a day to day basis with symptoms ranging from honking horns to flipping fingers to, in some extreme cases, full blown road rage. All because…why? Because MY destination is the most important to reach first and all other cars should part like the red sea to make way! Shouldn’t they?

You would think it being such a common occurrence that we would know how to deal with it by now. However, a lot of us become anxious, frustrated and end up internalizing the stress.

Have you ever commenced your morning chirpy (I’m talking to the other freaks like me that prefer mornings, and the rare night walkers that accidentally fell asleep before midnight and happened to wake up rested), waking up on the radiant side of bed, eager to start your day. You have everything in order and you’re even running early! You climb in your car, sip your coffee from your eco-friendly reusable mug, and BAM. You hit a traffic jam. But it’s okay, because today you are in a great mood! Nothing can ruin it… about 5 minutes later you feel the irritability creep on… 10 minutes passes and you are bouncing around your car like a kangaroo with rabies.

It was during one of these manic -please-let-a-magic-road-appear-that-I-alone-can-escape-this-traffic- episodes, when I realized, why am I fighting this? What is the point? It’s not going to get me any further ahead and if I wanted a magic road to appear I should have poured something else in to my mug. So, what was my other option?

To surrender. To give up the resistance and accept that I was stuck in traffic. It was a few kilometres down the road when I realized the jam was caused by a car accident. When I could no longer nosily gawk my neck toward the accident without safely staying on the road, I was overwhelmed with relief;

Thank god that wasn’t me.

It would have only taken me leaving a few minutes earlier to be one of the cars contorted in the crash. That is when I was able to turn being stuck in traffic, something any sensible person tries to avoid at all costs, into a blessing.

It is easy for me to turn on auto-pilot when driving; almost as if I have entered a Mario Kart race.

TARGET: My destination

AIM: To get there as fast as possible

3..  2..  1..  GO!

Even if I am not in a rush I feel this uncontrollable urge to get there as quickly as I can. So today, as I was driving home, I felt the usual urge coming on. However, this time was different. I realized I wasn’t in any sort of rush and the placid music, complimented by the mild rain gave me a feeling of relaxation. Instead of gritting my teeth as I death gripped the wheel, I decided to remain relaxed and take my time. I chose to stay in the driving lane that had an overbearing truck a few cars ahead where the traffic flow was just under the speed limit. It was to my surprise, when a person signalled to change into my lane, I had no feeling of resentment that they would add an intolerable amount of minutes to the length of my trip. I gladly slowed down and let them in. It was just by making a small shift in attitude that greatly affected how much calmer and more compassionate I felt; benefiting me and other drivers alike.

So the next time you are behind the wheel, challenge yourself to relax, remain calm and maybe even, enjoy the ride.

I am grateful when I am stuck in traffic, it means I am not the one caught in the accident.