The devil on my shoulder and the sailor on my tongue...

In week 26 of The Great Wake Up our challenge was to use use any waiting time we had, enjoying what was around us.

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Oh, how very smug I was about this challenge, considering with a self-satisfied grin the way I've been able to shape my life to make waiting part of the pleasure. Waiting for the doctor? Whip out my book. Waiting for the train? Catch up with friends and family on Facebook. Waiting for the light to change? Check out the architecture. I was honestly convinced I'd found my zen sweet spot of living in the moment; I even wrote a poem!

Live in each moment.
When you're totally present
You're never waiting.

You can see what's coming, can't you (and I bet you kind of can't wait...) Yep, on the last day of the challenge I failed epically. The thing is, I had to go to Norwich to get my car serviced. No biggie, right? I found a great place for lunch on TripAdvisor and planned to call into a shop for some creative bits I was after, so that waiting was all set to turn into a fun day out. The best laid plans...

I didn't count on the traffic.

Not from a time perspective, I left plenty early, just the blood-boiling, shoulder-tensing, teeth-grinding slowness of every tractor, lorry and old person in the world on the winding road in front of me, and a constant stream of boy racers coming the other way so I couldn't get past.

For me, driving is waiting. It's a tedious waste of my life I do under sufferance (it's a bit embarrassing how much of my self-employment drive was based on "no more commute"). I thought I'd cracked it for this trip - plenty of time, nice CD, pretty drive through gorgeous country-side - but that all disappeared as the red mist (and blue haze - I swear like a navvy with my road rage...) descended.

It turns out, I can do mindful waiting (and slowness) as long as it's on my own terms and can tune into whatever happiness I choose to pass the time. But I don't do slow on anyone else's terms. I'm not proud of the part of me that woke up this week, but maybe it's the reminder I needed that there's still a lot to learn.


cat lover, wife, designer, analyst (the spreadsheet kind...), friend, sister, daughter, writer, consultant, lover of beauty...


Go to the profile of Jacqui
over 5 years ago
I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes for me it depends on my mood- sometimes happy to drift along but often frustrated at having to fit into control of others! But hey ho, we are humans and not robots!
Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
over 5 years ago
Wow Vanessa your road rage sounds like it's on the same scale as mine and that's high. I hate driving. Green veins pop out of my temple the moment I get in the car. Anyway I'm glad the challenge on the whole worked for you and the bit that didn't you know why it didn't. Take it easy
Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
over 5 years ago
Love your honesty Vanessa, I too have been known to use some colourful language especially when we have roadworks! x
Go to the profile of Vanessa
over 5 years ago
Thanks, everyone! I had honestly forgotten how bad my road rage is, and I'm so grateful that it's not a daily part of my life any more!
Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
over 5 years ago
Vanessa thanks for the honest insight and road rage is something we all struggle with. So no failure, just learnings, as you say. Huge loving, Chris x