I spend so much time waiting at red traffic lights, I thought I’d make a blog about them! No, it isn’t a moan about how often the lights are on red as I reach them and wait (for what seems like twenty minutes) for them to change. Nor is it a complaint as to the number of times that the lights are green on my approach to them, but they change to red just as I get to them (and then stay red for what seems like twenty minutes). I don’t even have any bad words to say about the traffic lights that are out of order on major crossroads that really need them, and cause traffic chaos because nobody seems to know what to do when the traffic lights are out of order (and seem to be out of order for what seems like twenty weeks). And I won’t mention part time traffic lights, that seem to only be in operation when the traffic is quiet. When the roads are busy, the part time traffic lights are not in use. Well, not in use until you expect them not to be in use, when you find that they really are, and have just added to the fact that the sheer volume of traffic wasn’t the reason you have been queuing for twenty minutes – the part time lights have joined their full time colleagues and keep everyone waiting for that length of time.
No, this isn’t to moan… I wouldn’t dream of moaning. You bring about what you think about, remember? I must always be thinking of red traffic lights…
Actually though, red traffic lights are not such a bad thing. For one, they cause us to slow down. Well, to stop, actually, to pause. To rest. When they go green, then we are off again until the next red light.
I keep wondering if there is anything that I can be doing while I am waiting – and not just at traffic lights – that will benefit me in the long term, and keep me calm.
There is one thing that I do all of the time and not notice I’m doing it. That’s breathing. Just concentrating on my breathing, and taking in deep breaths helps me to feel alive. Breathing also helps to centre me, so if my mind is racing away over something I saw, or something I have to do, my breathing brings me back to myself. Going back to being in the car again, I can’t do anything while I am at those lights apart from wait, so my breathing will stop me from stressing myself out! I don’t mean to gloat, but I enjoy it when I am calmly waiting at the red light, while the person in the car next me is revving their engine and moving backwards and forwards in anticipation that the lights will change to green that second. Which, as we all know isn’t the case – they take twenty minutes to change.
So, if you see someone calmly waiting at a red traffic light, breathing deeply, it’s probably me. I’ll also be giving thanks for those special seconds of me time that I’m getting there. I may look like I’m going to go from nought to sixty as soon as the lights go to green, when you’re waiting in the car next to me, but I’m testing you to see how wound up you are. As soon as the lights change, if you’re not off like a coiled spring I will know that you too (whether you know it or not) are also grateful for your twenty minutes of ‘me time’ a day.
They say patience is a virtue. Be patient at a red traffic light.