I love riding my Harley. I’m not a biker per se, but I enjoy riding a 2005 Road King on my relatively short commute between home and the office. It allows me time to think while focusing on the ride, with very few interruptions. I agree that motorcycle riding is more dangerous than driving a car. I also see lots of fearless souls weaving in and out of traffic and “lane splitting”, which is legal here in California, although not something I choose to participate in. So I ride conservatively, treating my vehicle as if it were a car, and do what I can to be as safe as possible while riding.
But the focus of this brief discourse isn’t riding, it’s about having some “thinking time”. I’m old enough to remember the days when you called home before leaving the office, to check on plans, or the grocery list, or whatever else you might want to know–there were no cell phones, so you called. But it was understood that once the call was finished, you would be out of touch during the commute time. It was a peaceful experience. You could opt to listen to the radio or a favorite CD or cassette (note that I did not include 8 track tapes), or you could simply drive, but you had some uninterrupted “me” time…time to think, time to plan in your head, time to unwind from the office or work stresses.
With the onset of the smart phone, we’ve basically lost this precious window of solitude. Emails, calls and text messages can and do come through at all hours of the day and night, whether we want them or not. It is up to us to consciously choose how we manage the inbound flow of communication. I’m a big believer that we all need some quiet time, time that we can spend in reflection, inside ourselves, just to reset our balance and sort out all that life throws our way.
How do you maintain a balance? Are you living with a constant connection to your smart phone or tablet or PC? It can be challenging to turn off the device (or at least turn it to silent mode) for fear that something, some tidbit of information, might be missed. But what are we missing when we live our lives focused on our devices first?
Carve out some “me” time. Take time to think….not to do, but just to think. Enjoy the peace that comes with it, and build it into your lifestyle in some way. For me, riding the Road King provides me with much more than just transportation. I get a chance to “breathe mentally”, to escape the stresses of the day, if only for a few moments. Find your method and stick with it. You’ll be glad you did (thanking me is optional).