For many fellow New Yorkers, owning a car in the City was pointless. New York has one of the best public transportation systems in toe world (even the 100 year-old subway) and if you want to leave town, there are multiple options, including renting a car by the hour.
Because my job required me to spend time in Washington DC, we owned a car in the city. During the week, it was my way to get to work and to see my clients, but on Friday night, it was my escape pod and I would wait until 8:00PM to leave for New York. Traffic would be much lighter, and I could make better time with less aggravation.
I wouldn’t say that I’m an aggressive driver, more than I would say that I’m focused. At least I was when living in New York. I was always very focused on the road; cautious of other drivers around me, anticipating their moves, but I specifically remember looking ahead and not looking in the rear view mirror much, unless it was for a lane change. Perhaps I was too aggressive, and focused too much on getting home?
Several years later, we sold our city car and moved to California, where we purchased the same model car, but in the station wagon version. Unlike the New York City metro area, California has next to no public transport (unless you count the HOV lane on the highways). Busses and trains are localized, and if you want to take a trip to San Francisco from Sonoma County by bus, it would take you over 2 ½ hours one way.
Suffice to say that there are a lot more cars on the road here in California, and you would have thought that my hyper vigilance and focus would get even sharper, but you’d be wrong.
My driving skills aren’t as “good” as they were a few years ago, and its not because I have a major milestone birthday on the horizon. The biggest difference now is that I look in the rearview mirror a lot more when I’m driving or at least, I did before going to India.
New York City, which is a very Pitta city, caused me to be very focused on my career in advertising. I knew what I was doing and what my path was. I had to tow the line and be put in a box. That box kept me sharp and focused on chasing a life. Never looking back. No time for contemplation; always moving and looking ahead. I never had time to look behind me.
In California, I don’t have the same parameters; in fact, there are days where there are no parameters at all. I don’t have the same confines and pressures of a corporate job, even though I take my work very seriously. California is a much more Vata place to live. People can be more flexible and are more apt to taking the day off to enjoy an afternoon hike, surf or bike ride. More options mean more to look at!
The rearview mirror in your car was one of the smartest and simple inventions. It prevents you from careening into another car when changing lanes, you can park your car without having to crane your neck and you can see what’s coming up behind you.
As humans, we also have a rearview mirror. Our mirror prevents us from making the same mistakes over and over again. It also guides us in determining our tendencies, or samskaras – actions we take when an equal and opposite action affects us; how we are programmed to respond based on our patterns.
Our rearview mirror can prevent us back from making a rash decision or acting impulsively, but is it holding us back?
If, when driving a car, you’re the type of person who is hyper focused on the destination, never look around you and limit your mirror use to the transaction of changing lanes, you may be prone to speeding, resulting in a summons, and if people are not going fast enough for you, may cause you to have a little road rage.
On the other hand, if you look at every passing car, check out the scenery more than driving and keep your eyes more on the mirrors than what’s in front of you you’ll be prone to a collision, angry fellow drivers and arriving well past the desired time, if at all!
Life is about journey AND destination; one needs a destination as motivation to arrive, but if you’re all destination, you forget all the wonders of the journey. On the other hand, one needs to enjoy the journey, but we all need a destination, otherwise we may never arrive at our potential.
The rearview mirror can remind us of actions taken in the past, but remember; it’s harder to arrive at your future when you’ve always got your attention behind you.