Being stuck in traffic is a universal experience. We’ve all been there: you get in the car, ready to be home after being out, maybe just having finished sports practice. It’s around 6 or 6:15, and you hit major traffic. Whether you’re the one driving or being driven, generally this experience is accompanied by sighing, grumbling and lots of honking. However, the next time you find yourself in this position, hopelessly waiting and desperate to just be home already, I urge you to slow down and appreciate the glory that is being stuck in traffic.
There are a couple of reasons that this limbo-like state of being is entirely underrated.
In our daily lives, we are so inundated by commitments we often fail to notice and celebrate the minute and wonderful details around us. Details like the new building you hadn’t noticed being built on the way home. How cool the clouds look tonight. How a car in the next lane is the same one your mom used to have when you were little. By being forced to simply sit and wait in the car, we can take a deep breath and rediscover these details, temporarily free from life’s stressors.
Moreover, the gift of this short time to recognize such small joys brings back a little bit of magic in life. In the contained and inescapable environment of being stuck in traffic, you are powerless to all of the items on your agenda. Instead of worrying about all of the things that you need to be doing, take a moment to yourself, breathe and notice all of the glorious details you have been missing.
Along the same vein, sitting in traffic is an opportune time to sit and listen to music. Whatever your genre of choice, be it country, rap, classical or another, this situation provides a distraction-free environment to let whatever song happens to be playing overtake your thoughts. For me, this is a rather meditative experience and an escape from stress.
All in all, being stuck in traffic generally seems frustrating, boring and stressful. Being in this situation is not any of these things, but can be a reprieve from all other worries to simply exist mindfully and recenter yourself, noticing the goodness all around you. Next time you find yourself stuck amongst the honking cars, take a deep breath and a moment to yourself. Notice the world around you, and enjoy this small moment of peace.
Story by Laine Betanzos
Photo provided by WikiCommons