The Joy of the Second Lane!

The Joy of the 2nd Lane

  I grew up in Iowa, where the only time you thought about passing someone was if it was a slow-moving piece of farm equipment on a two-lane road. There was not a lot of urgency in life back then. I finished medical school and then move to Los Angeles, where it was seemingly apparent that if you could get 3 feet ahead of someone while in traffic, that was a victory of epic proportions, so driving became a competitive sport. It became the kind of activity where it was instead of the courtesy-above-all-attitude that you see in Iowa, there was an-every-person-for-themselves attitude. Perhaps you could get home 15 to 30 seconds sooner than your neighbor. Six years of living – and driving – in Los Angeles ingrained some of that traffic behavior in me.

  Ultimately, we moved out of Los Angeles, although the behavior still persisted. It took me getting very burned out to realize that perhaps that driving primacy was not a priority. On many fronts, competitive driving twice a day for 30 minutes to and from work may be bad.

As a physician, we are always taught to strive to be the best and between the long work hours and the desire to get home with our competitive inherent nature, competitive driving ingrained itself.

  I am lucky that I became burned out because then I was able to realize that there are priorities in life and getting to work 30 seconds or one minute faster is not a priority.

  This is where I found the joy of the second lane where I am driving right now while I dictate this. As a matter of fact, my partner just passed me, and I was completely fine with that. I have found peace and happiness in the second lane because pretty much everyone who drives in the second lane has the same thing in mind: getting to where they need to go and not worrying about necessarily if they get there 1 to 2 minutes later or earlier.

  I can almost feel my blood pressure decrease as I ease into the second lane and then gently follow along with traffic rather than leapfrogging between lanes and cars trying to get past that person who just cut me off sin traffic. 

  I have found on average it takes at most one or two minutes more to drive to work on my 22-minute drive if I employ the joy of the second lane. Mentality and emotionally, I am much more relaxed when I get to work and home from work as well in the evening.

  Perhaps disengaging your ego and competitive nature and helping your burnout at the same time by easing into the second lane will be something that can be helpful for you.

 

~Jeff Moody, MD

 

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