“Cause I’m broken/When I’m open/And I don’t feel I am/Strong Enough”
It has been 19 days since claims of necessary changes were barked and new starts were promised; the turn of the year when the future looks bright and the past needs to be forgotten; a time for redemption and achieving lost goals and dreams. It has been 19 days of new faces at the gym, adults returning to the classroom, alcohol and tobacco sales decreasing, and the produce section of the grocery store no longer consists just of older ladies.
A certain writer is determined to perfect his own barbecue sauce, the most amazing amber lager, refresh his piano and guitar, finish projects that have gone on long enough, and test the limits of self-learning and abilities. He also would like to stop stressing out about driving; it just seems easier to write a book about it.
Please keep an eye out for that writer’s first book, “Driving: Road Rants and No Raves”. The non-fiction manuscript is set to hit shelves and online stores early 2014. Spoiler alert: I’m that writer.
No matter how strong and successful the average person is regarding their resolutions, there’s always the negative thought process. Americans love to focus on the one bad thing instead of the other four good things; the one failure to the four accomplishments; the one loss to the four victories; the one negative to the four positives; the one synonym to the four other synonyms.
As Americans deal with their first-world problems, they still find difficulty in keeping their resolutions; and why not? It’s easy to get comfortable, and everyone can relate. With that being said, most can also relate to the daily commute.
Less than 19 days is all it took to grind teeth, spread arms out of confusion, raise hands and a certain finger out of frustration, and to rest a head against the window complemented by a frown. Less than 19 days to honk a horn, tailgate, attempt to avoid the unavoidable potholes and sewer lids, and deal with construction.
We touched on Paseo a few weeks back, but let’s focus on the nation as a whole, and what better way to do so with statistics that no one cares about.
-90 Percent of Americans drive to work; that’s around 160 million people Dews, 2013).
-According to the US Census Bureau, the average commute time is 25.4 minutes.
-Top ten not provided by David Letterman.
Graph courtesy of Mashable (2013). http://mashable.com/2013/11/07/cities-worst-commutes/
That’s a lot of time in the vehicle to think about what’s wrong with your life. Drivers have some serious issues while handling a giant machine that took a whole two weeks to obtain a government-issued license to operate. It’s stressful to deal with the competition and the rage, the addictive need to respond to a text messages, women (and transvestites) putting on make-up, people eating burritos, guys (and butch women) shaving, people drinking coffee, and parents paying more attention to their children in the back than the cars in front. There’s a lack of attention; people getting bored and driving (no pun intended) each other crazy seeing the same stupid faces next to them everyday to and from work. It’s like they’re your friend and enemy; how stressful.
One disappointing resolution can lead to the breaking of another. Health is one of the most popular choices amongst people willing to attempt to change their lives. Of course there are the people who don’t make resolutions because they’re obviously perfect or don’t care, but many others take advantage of the opportunity to start over. Maybe a resolution for the perfect ones is to not ridicule people for their decisions? No, no, no; that’s too much to ask, plus that would point out a flaw; how embarrassing.
Here are rarely thought-about issues that stress creates on the body: chronic fatigue, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, irritability and anger, panic and attention disorders, grinding teeth and jaw tension, rapid heart rates and arrhythmias, strokes, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, digestive disorders and irritable bowel syndrome (how inappropriate), upset stomach and abdominal plain, muscle tension, fibromyalgia (whatever the hell that is), complex regional pain syndrome, alcoholism, drug and tobacco addictions, suicide, decreased sex drive, and weight gain and obesity (Heart Math, 2014).
Eureka! Driving makes you fat (and I think they mentioned something about attention disorders, hmm?). 69.2% of adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese (CDC, 2010). Plug that into the stats mentioned above and the evidence is strong. Coincidence? Probably not, but at least one writer is skeptical.
See how easy the breaking of resolutions can lead to some other breakdown? Yearly goals aren’t for everyone because attempting to accept disappointment is sometimes harder to do than achieving goals; however, we could all use a little change as Smash Mouth would say. It’s better to accept disappointment than to never face it; just take it easy as The Eagles would say. Some people need to stop making music references.
Maybe it’s time to slow down on the road, in life, and for your health. Then maybe next year a whole month will go by without any broken resolutions.
CDC (2010). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm on January 17th, 2014
Dews, F. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/brookings-now/posts/2013/10/ninety-percent-of-americans-drive-to-work on January 17th, 2014
Heart Math (2014). Retrieved from http://www.heartmath.com/infographics/how-stress-effects-the-body.html on January 17th, 2014.