In my tiny little corner of the world – there are no buses, no Uber, no Subway (except the one that serves my 12-inch rotisserie chicken sub.) I’m not even sure that a taxi could be found. I can’t get Uber Eats, Grub Hub, or even Dominos Pizza to deliver. We have a Walmart and they will do curbside pick-up but not delivery. It’s not as bad as when I lived in way-rural Louisiana where the paper USAToday always got delivered a day late (kind of a USAYesterday – thank God for online news.) I don’t live in San Francisco or Portland or DC … the top three places to live without a car. The train goes through our town – but I am not sure it even slows down. We built a tunnel under the tracks for cars and tractors, and originally for cows. The tunnel even gets tagged with art ever so often.
I have plenty of neighbors that will see me walking somewhere and force me into their car … in a good way. I can walk to the office or can work from home. That’s not an issue. One time I was walking and the fire chief put on his flashing lights, pulled off the road, and gave me a ride. Small town America is great.
So, this week, my car started having some front end vibrations at higher speeds. I took it to the tire store and had them balanced, aligned and a rotation done. I walked to and from the diner to eat while the shop worked on it. Still had issues, so I took it to my mechanic to go a little deeper. 48 hours later, I got it back. This article isn’t about the car, its about the 48 hours.
Many authors have given benefits to not having a car. There are the savings (no insurance, no gas, no repairs, etc.) There is the exercise. I can get into this – I love to walk – bit I prefer mountains and trails and wildlife sounds … not asphalt, and car fumes and honking of horns. Another benefit is it slows down life in this fast-paced world. Another reason, you never have to worry about parking. I don’t get this in my town where bad parking is having to walk a 100 extra yards away. Even Walmart’s parking lot is rarely full. Here’s a few more … going green (reduces pollution) and never having to wait at the DMV and not worrying about riding on snow.
These are all fine and good if you had to adjust life and lived in a metro area. But I don’t. However, I did take advantage of the past 48 hours. I had some wonderful benefits that I think many of us could use …
- It gave me some forced mental downtime. Often I just drive looking for something to do or somewhere to go. Slowing down was good.
- And slowing down allowed me to catch up on things I’ve put off – like laundry. I didn’t enjoy the laundry, who does, but I enjoyed getting it done. I even got to separate and count my beanie-babies as I need them for props in the next few weeks.
- It gave me appreciation for mobility, especially in a small town. Just to go get milk or grab breakfast, having independence is still something for which we should never lose appreciation. I can go a couple of days, but it would drive me crazy to be completely without a vehicle.
- I got to read more. Reading while driving is a no-no. I can walk and read. These two days, I got to sit inside, drink coffee and dive into some printed works.
- It created a deeper bond with my friends. I truly needed them to give me a quick ride or run an errand. I normally am pretty independent and don’t desire to be dependent on anyone. And we need to have relationships that we know we can trust to be there in good and and bad.
Hurrying kills the goodness of the moment. We need to enjoy the basics more with joy and appreciation … shared with people.
So, don’t wait until you have to put your vehicle in the shop to slow down a bit. Learn to pause, breath a bit and enjoy life more. Here are a few suggestions to help …
- Put your phone away.
- Spend time around nature – get away from concrete and metal
- Savor a meal – stop eating in your car (oops, did I talk about myself there?)
- Open a book
- Exercise a little
- Spend time with people – just hanging out, no agenda
- Write a letter – old school, with pen and paper
What would you suggest to help others slow down? If you had 48 hours, what would you do?