I had an experience as I drove to work this morning. It was dark as I left home. And foggy. The daylight broke through as I left the village. With the fog embracing the tree tops, and the pink and the orange streaking the sky, it was a beautiful picture. A photograph would never do the majesty justice so I didn’t stop to take one; some moments are better savoured by the memory.
As I drove, a dangerous stretch of the road, at the speed limit because that’s how I roll, a car came speeding up behind me and sat itself securely on my arse. Beautiful scenery, almost dangerous conditions, cigarette hanging out of its mouth (because that’s how close they were to me), I was tempted to brake. Teach it a lesson. I had the argument – who am I to judge another etc etc blah blah blah, so I calmed myself down and returned to the serenity of the drive. Matt Corby, Joss Stone, Smashing Pumpkins, Eddie Vedder, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston … each taking their turn to add to the vibe and to my peace.
It moved far enough back that I could see a green P plate. Yes they were in their late teens, possibly early twenties. As they overtook myself in fog and then the car in front of me in a 40km zone that clearly states DO NOT OVERTAKE, I grinned and imagined the photo that could incriminate their behaviour to the police. I smiled, knowing it was a matter of time.
And then chastised myself for not being nice.
And then realised, once that was me. I used to race around, zipping from place to place like the destination and how fast I got there was THE most important thing.
And now I know that it isn’t. It is worth leaving home a little earlier to take a leisurely drive to work, or to anywhere, especially as day breaks. It is worth noticing the environment that I am driving through. Contemplating the existence of the sheep, alpacas, horses and cows I pass every day. The constancy of life. It is worth noticing it. Embracing it. Being coccooned by it.
Life is worth it.
The race is not.
And I continued to think about aging. It is true you become more anonymous as you age. You are no longer the pretty young thing and it really does not matter. As I have aged I have gained immensely in power. Over myself amd over my choices. I know who I am. I am proud of who I am. I am wiser than I was. I am the sum of everything that I have ever seen, heard, thought, read, experienced, lived, processed … and I would not exchange it for youth. Not ever.
I have no desire to win this race, or run it as fast as I can. I am happy to drive leisurely through it – seeing everything as if for the first time, breathing in its scent, languishing in each moment so that I may remember it forever … through every incarnation, its presence sweetening my life.