Why Was I Speeding Up a Mountain Road?

Behind a truck on the road to Estes Park

On a recent Friday afternoon, we headed to Estes Park, Colorado to spend the weekend with dear friends who live in the pretty mountain town. Instead of taking the I-25 highway, I chose the more scenic route through my home town of Boulder.

Traffic wasn’t too bad, and my son and I chatted as we drove through Denver, Broomfield, over the big hill into Boulder, and north through Lyons. As we headed up US-36—the final stretch that would take us to Estes Park—I groaned. A large truck was on the road ahead, with a long line of cars behind it.

The single-lane road has occasional passing lanes for just this kind of scenario, and with each stretch of the double lane a few cars would speed up and manage to get around the truck. When it was finally my turn, the road was especially steep and windy. My right foot was pedal to the metal as I sped up and tried to pass the truck. A black SUV was right on my bumper, and my knuckles were clenched tightly around the steering wheel. A sign indicated that the passing lane was ending, and I still wasn’t around the blasted truck.

Suddenly I became conscious of how tense I was.

What was I doing? Why did I so desperately need to get around the truck? We weren’t in a hurry, and we didn’t have a specific time we needed to arrive. If anything, I longed for a relaxed drive up the canyon. I didn’t want to race up the winding hill, so why was I doing exactly that?

I eased back and let the SUV driver blast by me, kicking up a trail of gravel as he narrowly cut in front of the truck.

Estes Park

I took a deep breath and settled back a good distance from the truck. I followed it at a nice, mellow pace all the way into Estes Park. The sky was so blue, and the mountains were glorious. I did my best to ignore the cars that tailed me during the single lane stretches, and enjoyed the drive.

Later, I thought about my tendency to hurry, hurry, hurry. How often, I wondered, do I focus needlessly on getting somewhere fast — at the expense of my peace (and sometimes, my safety)?

Honestly, I think it’s mostly just a bad habit.

So…

I want to break the habit of needlessly hurrying.

I want to develop the habit of being present and taking my time.

I want to enjoy the journey, don’t you?

Hugs, happy weekend, and here’s to a more leisurely pace,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. You might enjoy this related post, “The Amazing Bliss of 10 More Minutes.”

 

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

10 comments to Why Was I Speeding Up a Mountain Road?

  • Christian Arndt

    Agreed. Be in the present moment, and savor it as if it were your last.

  • I too suffer from “hurry disease” – honestly, I think it’s a national epidemic! I think it’s very closely related to “busyness syndrome.”

    Seriously though, for me, while some of it is habit, it also serves to give me an illusion of control, and to keep me insulated from my emotions. If your brain is filled with “faster, faster, faster” and “do more, more, more” there really isn’t any time for uncomfortable feelings to creep in. Just my take…

    • I am often prone to Busyness Syndrome, too, Cat. Perhaps that’s one reason why vacations are so relaxing – no weeds to pull, or laundry to do, or To Do lists to accomplish. Your theory about control really resonates with me (even though everything feels pretty out of control right now!) I always enjoy your thoughtful comments, and hope you are having a good August. xo

      Readers, Cat’s blog is one of my favorites and you’ll love her funny, honest writing style: http://ecocatlady.blogspot.com/

  • @jalferink11

    Agreed. Why the need to do more & more?

  • Lois

    Oh I can so relate. I was always the one passing any slow traffic, I liked speed more than the need to get to my destination on time. As I’ve gotten older I find I prefer the slower pace life without a car has given me. The last time I borrowed a car it felt so unnatural to be behind the wheel I couldn’t wait for the trip to end and I wasn’t racing to get there either.

  • I’m with you, though even in my most relaxed moments, I still hate being behind semi trucks.

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