My hands gripped the steering well.
Sweat gathered on my brow.
Cars packed the gas station.
They were all facing different directions -- itching to get a spot at the pump.
One guy got out of his SUV and started yelling at a woman in her car.
It would take us at least 20 minutes to get close to the front.
I wanted to get back to NYC and crawl under my weighted blanket.
This crowded gas station was not part of the plan.
I looked at the dashboard. Red light blinking. LOW GAS. LOW GAS.
I did a quick calculation. I’d be able to make it a few miles before filling up.
I pushed on the pedal. Hard. And bolted out of the station.
“What're you doing?” my husband asked.
“This one’s too crowded. I said, feigning confidence.
"I’m going somewhere else.”
I ignored his concerned glance.
I had a job to do: Find a gas station with less people.
But, a wave of uncertainty hit me the second we left.
I brushed it off as tiredness.
I didn’t have time for second-guessing.
I focused my gaze on the road. I stifled a yawn.
And all of a sudden...
My husband and I looked at each other.
What was that noise?
My heart started beating out of my chest.
Small beads of sweat gathered on my forehead. Eyes glancing at my husband, the road and then back again
As we drove, I felt myself losing control of the car.
Beep, beep. The alert on the dashboard went off.
We'd gone over something.
*Check Tires* popped-up on the dashboard.
Ugh, we'd gone over a pothole. A big one.
My husband and I carefully exited the highway.
We pulled up at another gas station. Sure enough, there was no line. And yes, it was open.
But – we had a flat tire.
We weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
All hopes of getting back to our apartment fast -- out the window.
I felt a heavy feeling in my chest.
The early stages of guilt about attempting to shave minutes off our time were settling in.
To distract myself, I went on an Instagram binge while my husband called for help.
Scroll...Scroll...Scroll.... anything to avoid the inevitable feeling -- I'd messed up.
My impatience got the best of me.
I sunk into my seat.
As I sat in the car, I thought about the obvious.
If I'd waited, we wouldn't be in this position - tired, stressed and sans tire at 10 pm.
Is this scenario like my favorite Alanis Morissette song?
Isn’t It Ironic....
When you leave the gas station
To save time -- only to get a flat....
Alas, Alanis was not going to swoop in and save us. We were stuck at a gas station. No tire.
My plan to shave off minutes -- failed.
My husband and I made the best of the situation. We laughed at the absurdity.
And sooner than we thought, a tow truck company came to help and we were on our way home.
A wave of calm washed over me. A smile crept on my face.
Ah yes, a beautiful lesson revealed itself.
Okay, universe. I got it.
Patience is something I have a relationship with and I’m cultivating every day.
Like a surgeon, some days I'd like to cut the impatient part out of me.
But, our so-called negative traits are here to teach us.
Yes, even impatience is here to teach us about self-compassion, letting go and coming back to our center time and time again.
We don't have to be perfect at mastering our "thing" -- whatever it is -- patience, anger, communicating our needs, etc.
Some days are good, other days, not so much. But we keep coming back to our center and loving ourselves along the way.
Can you relate? You might tap your foot in the coffee line or wonder why the person in front of you can’t hurry along.
Or you might feel impatient about hearing back from someone about a job. Impatience can come in so many sneaky forms.
My Biggest Reminders:
Count to 10
Focus on your exhale out (make it last 4 seconds)
And remember that if you try and rush – you end up stressed and creating more chaotic energy in your life.
At least, that’s what happens for me. I’ll forget my keys when I’m rushing out the door. I’ll trip and fall.
When I try to shave off time, not only do I create more chaos, I miss out on the journey.
Breathe in….Breathe out…..No rush.
All about that progress, not perfection. And remind yourself to chill out, take it easy -- and enjoy the ride.
From my heart to yours,
Devon McLeod, LCSW
PS Do you have your impatient days? What do you do to chill? Comment below let me know! Love hearing your tips! <3