how to slow down time, or why i love stoplights

Do you hate getting stuck at the stoplight? I used to, especially when there is a traffic camera on top of it. Today I came to a screeching stop just because of that camera. Everything inside the car flew forward for the exception of myself – thanks to the seat belt.

So I am sitting there, looking around at other people sitting, looking at each other. And I’m thinking, this is kind of neat, we all got brought together at this intersection. And by some magic power were forced to stop right here to take a look around.

I look to my left and see a guy in a pickup truck. He looks back at me, kind of shrugs his shoulders and points at the light. Yeah, theses California lights can be pretty long. So I shrug my shoulders back, and do this thing with my hands to indicate that we’re in agreement.

At this point, we’re both pretty happy that we’re not alone in this situation. And the car stereo is playing a nice peaceful tune and I feel good. Then, all of the sudden I find myself in some sort of a trans. Time slows down and it feels like I’m watching a movie.

I’m just an observer watching this movie of life. I don’t even feel like I’m myself anymore. It’s all about the world outside the windshield. Cars driving in slow motion, birds flying around, the trees swaying in the wind to the music. And best of all, the sensation of peace.

Suddenly, I am startled by a loud, obnoxious noise. I force myself out of my movie. Next thing I realize, the light is green and all the cars around me are gone, including my buddy in the pickup. It’s just me and the angry driver in a green sedan behind me honking the horn…

I waive and cross the road. I drive down the street, remembering just how great it was to take a few minutes out of my day to stop and observe. Even if I was forced to do it by that camera light. I realized that this is how to slow down time. If it wasn’t for moments like these, life would just keep on rolling by, carrying us alone with it.

Every day, you’re up and out of the house running your chores, dropping the kids off at school, buying the groceries. You rush to the drive through to get your food just so you don’t have to ever leave the race.

Well stop, just stop. Use any excuse to just take a few moments to stop the cycle and acknowledge that you are living your life right now, today. Not a year from now when you take your next vacation (we know how quickly that goes by), but right now.

I don’t want to lose myself to the never ending sensation of trying to get to the next destination. That destination is not the end, it’s not the final goal. It’s just a starting point for the next race that will not stop. Unless I stop it.

I am grateful for that stoplight. And I’m looking forward to the next one. I can stop, make a few friends and enjoy the scenery. We need these stoplights to remind ourselves that we’re all real live human beings who need rest, peace and companionship. Please don’t let yourself forget that.

And when someone nods to you from the adjacent car, give them a nod back. They may need to feel that they are not alone on this journey. They may need to see that at least at this intersection they have someone near to them who cares. And this my friends, is the reward.

Live well. Vlad

2 Responses to how to slow down time, or why i love stoplights

  1. noch November 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    i agree. sometimes it’s good to stop. my stopping moments is in the elevators, instead of pressing “close” all the time, i press “open” and hold it for the next few persons coming in, even if they are more than a few steps away. a smile and a nod. a pause in the rush of life.

  2. Vlad November 15, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    Hi noch, an “open button” you say? I just cover the sensor with my hand :-) It’s great to acknowledge a stranger like that, isn’t it. But then is anyone really a stranger?