I actually wrote this last year but it feels relevant again. After this hectic last 6 months and completing my exam (for those who want to know, I passed!) I really feel like pootling for a bit.
In the Netherlands there is a motorway that is 5 lanes wide, called the A2. It was widened to release congestion and the speed is limited to max 100kph.
At non-peak travel times it is funny to see 3 lanes with traffic and hardly anyone is tempted to speed along in the 4th and 5th lanes. I’m sure the traffic cameras and the speeding fines have something to do with it but I also think it is a part of human nature to follow rules and guidelines.
There is common sense in them. Slowing down reduces congestion at hot spots. It’s safer, you’ll get there around the same time anyway, etc. I kept to the speed limit, I thought I was being a good citizen.
But actually, those aren’t the reasons I kept to the limit. I kept to the limit because I liked it, it was comfortable and quite frankly, after the series of mega unfortunate incidents in my life in the last few years, I have a very great appreciation that it can happen to you.
I’ve seen death approaching and I don’t want to meet him again any time soon.
Hospitals aren’t much fun either and I have had plenty of opportunities to sample their delights on a regular basis so I don’t need a car accident to bring me there too.
So I mosey down the A2 highway and it feels good. I’m glad they set that limit because actually I don’t want to go faster than that anyway and the government gave me permission to drive slowly.
On roads where the limit is 120kph I still only want to drive max 100 but somehow I feel pressure to go faster.
One day I was struck by how funny that is. I am opinionated, decisive and really don’t like being told what to do. Yet I feel like I should go faster than I want to, just because of a road sign. That’s when I realised that the reason I like the A2 so much is that I am relying on someone else to give me permission to be how I want to be. How ridiculous is that?
I could just give myself permission. I do give myself permission. Permission to cruise when I want to, to race when I want to, to stand still when I want to.
So the next time you see a slow poke cruising down the road, it might be me. I’m not trying to get in your way or make you late. I’m feeling good.