I have seen my share of distracted drivers over the years. Most of the time, I am just fascinated by what people choose to do behind the wheel of the car. Like you, I have seen the typical things: people using their cell phones, women putting on make-up, and people having something to eat.
I have also seen things I hope are rarer, like a man reading the full newspaper or a couple having an intimate encounter (sorry for that image!). However, I recently saw one I had never expected to see. I watched a younger man putting in eye drops while he was driving.
If you have had to use eye drops before, you know the procedure to instill them—head all the way back, looking at the sky—or in this man’s case, at the ceiling of his car. He did both eyes. I was astounded. I thought I had seen it all when it came to distracted driving.
What is the deal with distracted driving? What makes us think that we can do things like putting in eye drops while heading down the road at 45 miles an hour in a 3,500-pound car? Seeing that was enough to renew my safe-driving pledge. I am convinced we all need to do more to eliminate distracted driving.
Yet, I just don’t see that this is really solving the main issue. I don’t know all of the answers to this, but I believe the problem is getting worse. In this rat-race world where we are told busy-ness is somehow equated with happiness, we are all rushing to get more, have more, finish more, and do more.
We are hurrying from place to place while cramming more and more into each of the things we are striving to do.
I appreciate the efforts to end distracted driving and have taken the safe-driving pledges myself. Yet, I think we are missing the mark. I believe the problem is distracted living. I believe we will never end distracted driving until we end distracted living.
Why is this on my mind right now? I just came home from the annual Daddy-Daughter Dance at my youngest daughter’s elementary school. My daughter has been looking forward to this for weeks. She wore her best dress and looked like the princess she is. I dressed in a matching shirt and tie and we headed off for a wonderful night.
When we walked into the decorated gymnasium, we were greeted by dancing and excited girls. I also could not help but notice so many of the dads against the wall on their phones. There were hundreds of little girls dressed like angels and princesses and handsome fathers in suits and ties. Likely these girls had the same excitement as my little girl.
So, how did the dads end up at the wall on their cell phones? Distracted living. You see it everywhere now. Couples in restaurants on date night are both glued to their phones. Kids ignoring parents while playing computer games. People at special events and activities, but not really there at all. Distracted living.
We are too stuck in our technology and computers, thinking we are being productive and having it all. We are consuming the virtual world and never living in the real world. We are “popping in a movie” and handing the kids a tablet or phone to play a game and truly ignoring the people in our lives.
We are addicted to Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more, and we are missing out on the things that give real satisfaction and meaning to life. Real living and life come from taking time for relationships and people.
We are not going to get anywhere looking at the mostly fake lives of celebrities and stars while ignoring the people right in front of us. The reason we like shows called “The Living Dead” is because we so get it. That is us.
Are you bogged down with too much to do? Are you living life distracted from what really matters? Are you standing on the sidelines distracted by the latest Buzz Feed that you are missing out on the dance? Are you trying to fit it all in anywhere you can and really missing out on enjoying your life?
If you are feeling unsatisfied, frustrated, and overwhelmed, you might look at your current behavior around technology. Are you recklessly heading down the road unfocused and disorganized and missing the joys of life? Take a look at what you do.
How much time do you spend with digital media? How much time do you really spend?
Let’s face it, it is really easy to sacrifice what matters most for what does not matter at all. Are you neglecting safety, wisdom, peace of mind, and, most urgently important, the people in your life because you are too distracted and too overwhelmed?
Confucius said, “She who chases two rabbits will catch neither one.” The simple answer is to simplify. The first step is putting mind over media, pushing the pause or even the power button, and really showing up for life. Life is best lived one thing at a time.
When you are distracted in your driving and in your living, you will miss out on all the beauty that is there to see. Help end distracted driving today! Even more, please help by ending your distracted living.