I can still remember the driver’s ed teacher yelling at me during my parallel parking lesson. I’m not sure what logic led him to believe that yelling at me would somehow assist me in overcoming my quite sufficient anxiety about parallel parking. Perhaps yelling had aided other students in being able to squeeze a car into a parking spot…but not me. To this day, parallel parking is not my favorite. I’d rather walk a block from a nice wide-open spot than stress over getting into a tighter one.
But some advice I learned in driver’s ed still rings in my head in a positive way and has useful applications behind the wheel and outside the car. One of my favorite slogans was “aim high in driving.” If you haven’t heard of this one, it’s encouragement refers to keeping your vision far ahead of your car so you can be aware of what is going on, especially on the freeway. Spotting an accident or even a dangerous driver 1/2 mile ahead can give you time to adjust, change lanes or take other precautions.
Aim High has come to mind recently in relation to other modern activities, like texting. Often I see someone texting with the phone in the lap. Texting is often done on the sly. We may not want to draw a lot of attention to the fact that we are texting. But this often necessitates a severe flexion of the neck. I have been experimenting with texting up in the air, where my neck can be comfortable. Of course, this isn’t for those times when you probably shouldn’t be texting anyway. But when you can, try texting at a more comfortable angle.
Aim High came to mind on my walk this morning too. How often do we walk, examining the ground as if it held some secret of great magnitude? Experiment with a walk where you look to the end of the block, end of the trail or end of the meadow. You’ll have to look down on occasion to make sure you don’t step into anything unpleasant or miss a tripping hazard. But get your chin up and feel the ease in your neck. Add some arm swinging and really give your spine a treat. The weight of your arms swinging, even gently, can activate some of your deeper back muscles responsible for rotation and vertebral articulation. Movement is great for spine health and what could be easier than swinging one’s arms on an enjoyable walk?
Aim High leads me to daydreaming. I feel new things stirring and hope summer will afford me some time to dream big. Any big dreams on your mind these days?
P.S. The last bit of memorable advice from driver’s ed: Never try to merge onto the freeway while lighting a cigarette and changing the radio station because inevitably a bee will fly in your window at just that moment causing you to lose control of the car and crash. I can safely say I never do this.