Life just moves so much slower around here. I was used to running 90 miles an hour on about 2 – 4 hours of sleep. Did not matter if I drank the night before and passed out which was the case on most days. I could have been out with friends or sitting on the sofa by myself. I couldn’t seem to just fall asleep. I had to drink to slow my mind down long enough to let me sleep. Call it an excuse if you will, but it was my reasoning. Since I have returned to Jacksonville for just a bit, I have noticed all sorts of changes. Once the noise of the city calmed down, which did indeed take a while to get used to, I seem calmer and with less sense of urgency. I know there are things that have to get done and am rarely bored. I just realize that I no longer have a schedule. I don’t “have to do” anything.
I was eager to get home to East Texas and the day I arrived my older brother tried to give me some very real advice. “Gabe, you are used to the fast lane” Which technically I would not consider San Antonio the fast lane. I would think it more the passing lane, I’ll explain that later. He followed it by saying “you are now in the turtle lane”. At first, I just grinned and nodded my head that I understood. Only I really didn’t. I took his words with a grain of salt and figured I would continue with business as usual. Things didn’t seem to be that much different other than my geography. But the only thing that was the same, was me. I was still trying to be scheduled and hold my friends and family to the same standards that my clients held me to. However, no matter how much I tried to live according to the book of Gabriel, no one else seemed to follow.
As the days passed and my sense of immediate reaction passed, I started to slow down my pace as well. My mind was no longer filled with “what do I have to do tomorrow”. I didn’t notice as much as mother did that I was now sleeping until 8 or 9 in the morning. She was concerned at first but soon realized it was a good thing I was actually getting 8 hours of sleep without drinking.
I think the words of my brother finally rang true when I was on my way to the store one day. My parents live about 5 minutes outside of Jacksonville proper. It’s two lanes, winding, scenic, and 55 miles per hour. Mind you I’m used to driving 70 to 90 miles an hour wherever I am going. I was happily doing the speed limit and came upon a truck that had just turned onto my road from a side country road. Of course I had to slow down, as he hadn’t had time to increase speed yet. So I slowed to about 10 to 15 miles per hour expecting to slowly “gas on it” as I say. After a minute, give or take, I noticed that I was not gaining speed. I was still at 15 miles per hour. This was quickly starting to annoy me. I sat there thinking to myself that I really wanted to run this person over, off the road, or just please get the hell out of my way.
I looked ahead of me and took a moment to survey the situation. What situation? It was a pretty basic matter. I want to go faster, he doesn’t and I can’t get around him. Griping the wheel with irritation I realized he was an elderly gentleman. I then I thought, what if that was my dad? How would I want someone behind him to handle the challenge? I would want them to be kind and not do anything to scare my father or cause him any level of anxiety.
It caused me to pause and also realize that I really wasn’t in any hurry. I did not need to be anywhere at any given time. I am free of the rat race, schedules, calendars and clients at the moment. I don’t think many people get to feel this feeling of freedom. Mostly because I listen to the way people speak around here. The people of East Texas often think they already have a hectic life so they might even want/need a slower turtle lane. Although this will not last forever, I am thankful for this time to be with my family and to have found some peace. 15 in a 55 isn’t so bad.