Living in Your Rear-View Mirror

I live on a busy street.

Actually, I live on a small street that connects to a busy street.
And occasionally, I have to make scary, unprotected left turns on to said busy street in order to get to the places where I need to go. (a la Dr. Seuss)

I drive a teeny-tiny car.
The kind that pisses you off when looking for a parking spot at Trader Joe’s.
I love my car, but I’m also well aware that an accident (of any size really) would most likely be the death of me.

The moral of the story is that I like to be cautious when I drive. (So sue me!)

Today I found myself sitting at the stop sign (of the aforementioned busy street) waiting (a few extra minutes…maybe two) to make my oh so scary, unprotected left turn when I became aware of the gentleman in the (pardon my French) big ass truck behind me.

Now, I said I like to be cautious, but I’m also not an idiot. I’m perfectly capable of assessing the situation and gauging the most appropriate time for me to make my turn.

I wasn’t on my phone.
I wasn’t staring off into space.
I was doing my due diligence of swiveling my head left and right until an opening became available.

Again, it had probably been a grand total of two minutes…a hundred and twenty seconds…when I again became aware of the big ass truck behind me that had now pulled up next to me on my right. (I would also like to point out that two other cars had previously been on the right turning right, but also blocking my vision of that side of the street…so take that into consideration, as well. I’ve been behind plenty of people who had to take a beat before turning and I never once blamed them.)

I thought, “Yeah, I don’t blame him. It’ll probably be easier to turn right instead of waiting for this mess!”


I was wrong.

He wasn’t turning right.

He was turning left.

He was taking my turn.

He got in front of me. Waited a little. (Because like I said, lots of cars.) And then turned.

At first…I was just shocked.
I couldn’t believe the balls of that guy! (Although there were a pair dangling on the back of his truck – way to go, Bakersfield.)
Then…I was just embarrassed.

I started questioning myself.
Could I have gone before that?
Was I waiting too long?
Should I have just tried to pull into the suicide lane and wait until I could merge with traffic?

But then I remembered something someone told me a long time ago.

You can’t drive your car from your rear-view mirror.

So yeah, this guy made me feel bad about not going sooner…but I also know what I was seeing in that moment (and there was no way he could see how many cars there were, regardless of how small my car is) and I also know what I’m comfortable with.

Rushing out into traffic because the guy with balls on the back of his truck is making you feel bad is never a good idea!

And that’s just true of life.

You can’t go through your day wondering about the person behind you and what they’re thinking about you. (Because chances are they’re not even thinking about you at all and even if they are…you’re the one operating a dangerous machine and should probably keep your eyes on the road anyway.)

You can’t let the person behind you decide when you need to go. (Unless you’re texting or something…in which case…everyone hate you. Everyone.)

I have a bad habit of living my life in my rear-view mirror.
Of stressing more about what the people behind me are thinking than actually just living my life and enjoying the ride.

I wrote my last post about a trip to LA.
When I was dreaming about quitting my job and packing up and moving out.
For a while, I just thought that would never happen. I thought it was too out of reach.
But beyond that, I was afraid of letting people down. (Or afraid that they’d judge me for deciding that this career and this town was not for me.)

For a long time, I’ve let this rear-view point-of-view dictate where I’m going.

Until recently.

I did the unthinkable. I took the scary, unprotected left turn (despite not really knowing where I was going).

I quit my job. (And actually got hired as a writer. What?!)
I found a new apartment.
And I did it.
I moved to LA.

(Well technically, I still have 3 days left of school…so even though my couch is in LA I, unfortunately, am not. Soon though.)

There was so much fear and unknown going into this decision that even though I was wildly unhappy in my current situation and knew I had to make a change…that rear-view mirror kept challenging me. Telling me people were going to be disappointed. Or hurt. Or even offended.

It would’ve been easier to stay.
It would’ve made more sense.
But then where would I be?

It’s tempting to focus on what’s happening behind you. (Or next to you. Or on the other side of your phone.)
But that’s no way to live your life.

And it’s certainly no way to drive.



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