Friday, September 5, 2014

Breaking the Rules

Breaking the rules has been a long, ongoing conversation with many friends of mine throughout the years. I have found it fascinating to examine this concept during my life. There are several aspects that I enjoy analyzing consistently as I look at how my perspective has changed over the years. I know that rule breaking and following begins very early in life. For me rule breaking was in full force as I became a driver. Driving highlighted or amplified for me the concept of following or breaking the rules. As a young 16 year old driver, I thought of the rules of the road as guidelines to follow. I did not think of them as rules to follow for the safety of me and others. Far too quickly I begin to see that taking my eyes off the road to pick up a cassette tape, that flew out onto the passenger side floor as I was ejecting it, would lead me to drive up onto a hill and do a 180. I thought of driving as a way for me to get somewhere while accomplishing other tasks such as eating. Gas was not a necessity but something I would take care of if time allowed. Keys weren't that important unless I had locked them into my car. As is very common in my life, as I break rules, I am caught right away. I didn't always like this growing up, but I am so very thankful for it. Driving did not fail to show me that the rules of the road are meant to be followed. I remember thinking that I was just unlucky and that surely this would stop. As I moved into my young adult years, I was thankful to have a job so that when necessary I could pay for damage I had done to my car, others cars, or tickets. I was proud that I would take care of these things but still relatively unaware of how my thought process continued to effect my outcomes. You see back then, as many of you will remember, we were not on film for everything. So, if I could get through the light just turning red, go for it. Right? The only way I could get caught was if the police officer was right behind me to see that the light turned red before I was half way through the light. My thoughts into my 30's continued to flash ideas of well, I'm younger and faster, so if I get there first, too bad for you. I really do not think that I gave much thought to being an offensive or defensive driver much at all. My life took a harsh right when I became pregnant with my twins. I began to realize that I was taking two people with me every day as I drove. I started being very aware of the posted speed limit signs on major highways and if possible I avoided long drives. You see at this point I had been drive for a bit more than half of my life and we all know that deep patterns had set in. So, even on my ernest days, I would look down and see I was speeding. I was in shock, because I mentally made a choice to not speed as I pulled out of the driveway. I continued to have thoughts about how important the safety rules of the road had become. I later had my precious daughter which had me driving around with three children under the age of five. As if driving around alone wasn't enough pressure, it was common to have hungry, tired, irritable, or hyper children in the car distracting me. Again I was determined to follow the road signs, to obey the laws and to be a safe driver. I continued to mess up, get tickets, and what I then began to see is my behaviors of entitlement. These behaviors started to become crystal clear. I would tell myself it was perfectly fine to go down the street the wrong way for half a block because my children were starving. No one was coming, no one would get hurt, and I needed to hurry. I would tell myself that I can cut in the carpool lane, because I had an early morning client. Slowly as I evaluated my driving I began to see that after years of practice I was able to follow the safety rules of the road and now it was necessary to deal with my ugly entitled behavior. As you can see it took me many years to retrain myself to drive safely. It took practice and diligence. I had to attack my entitled behavior mentally before my actions in driving began to change. Now when I see the teenage drivers, I shutter to think about how underdeveloped the 16 year old brain actually is and how diligent parents must be to train good decision making. I have to admit that as I was thinking about my blog this week I had a hilarious moment that summed all of this up. I was standing in front of the high school talking to a friend. All of a sudden this pimped out suburban comes barreling down the street in the wrong direction. I say to my friend, "Isn't this a one way street?" She says.  "Yes, and the parking space he just parked in is a handicapped space." We looked at each other and laughed as she said, "The Entitlement". Neither of us were judging but we could recognize the behavior. Thankfully we are all a work in progress. Life gives us boundaries, rules and regulations. Many are in place for the safety of not only you, but others. Think of the chaos without rules. #entitlement #safedriving #breakingtherules #rulefollower