I don't drive particularly slow. Around 90km/h which is the typical speed limit on the expressway.
Even so, I have drivers tailgating me and flashing their headlights at me.
Then they try to overtake and zoom off at approximately 120km/h.
The thing that crosses my mind everytime this happens is really... What's the rush?
When I was in national service, I was a sergeant, so I sat on the passenger seat of vehicles and the driver will drive whatever stuff we were transporting. And I'm sure Singaporean guys all know that SAF vehicles all have an alarm. If the military vehicle goes above a certain speed, the alarm will start to beep. If the alarm beeps for 10 times, the driver will need to write a report on why he was travelling at a higher speed than necessary for such a long period. Most of the time, the driver will hear 1 or 2 beeps then he will slow down and drive along at 50km/h and breach the speed limit again then slow down, etc. This would typically happen multiple times on a trip.
One day, I got into a vehicle. The driver asked me to relax take a nap or whatever. Then he drove. And for the first time and only time in my whole NS stint, the beeper did not beep even once throughout the whole trip. I exclaimed, "Woah! How come the beeper didn't even sound once?" And the driver responded, "I drove like the others previously, the time I saved was around 5-10 minutes. It's not a lot. I just give this time to the SAF."
Considering that we have to spend 2+ years in NS, reaching a destination 5-10 minutes earlier doesn't change anything. So this driver really understood his stuff. What's the rush?
Similar to my daily driving now, I see many impatient drivers driving at perilous speeds, cutting lanes, increasing speeds to prevent others from filtering before them, etc. And I wonder to myself again, What's the rush?
(Unless you have a stomachache and really need to go to the toilet, or maybe a loved one needs to be rushed to the hospital or whatever...)
But more often than not, there is no real rush. Most people are on their way to work. Or on their way home or on their way to a dinner appointment. Sure sometimes you might be running late but driving dangerously isn't going to help if you meet with an accident.
I reflect upon my own life and realized that I've previously been rushing through most of my life without fully appreciating it.
Age 1-6 - Mainly playing. Some of my most fun times.
Age 7-12 - Mainly waiting to graduate Primary school. Not much fun here. I was living for P6.
Age 13-16 - Same as the above, I was living to take my O levels
Age 17-18 - Living to take my A levels
Age 19-20 - NS. No one really slowly enjoys this period.
Age 21-23 - University. Quite fun. But mainly just waiting to finish and graduate.
Age 24 onwards. Work work work. I worked for money. Really. I was a robot. I didn't feel anything for the work. I dreaded Sunday nights. I just worked for money and I told myself I was going to retire young cos I hated my work. And I'm just going to farm gold (gaming term for grinding at a task to gain money) and stockpile and retire. And by 32, I felt empty. Sure I probably had more money than the average 32 year old. But I had very little to live for.
Since young, I was very task oriented. Everything needed to have a goal. And once there was a goal, I would work for it, then the next goal, pass my PSLE, then pass my O levels, then A levels, rush through army, pass my University, then I went to work. And why does someone work? To earn money right? Or so my parents told me. So I focused on earning money. And kept on earning. Then I realized, this isn't like exam situations like before. There's no end to earning money. There's no passing. You just keep going. This was when I realized that my parents rationale to work was wrong. Maybe at their time, they needed to work to keep the family going. But times have changed. Sure there are folks who do need to keep working to keep the family going. But many Singaporeans are at the point where they can choose. They can choose to work for less and do stuff they like. But they don't. Cos they are still stuck in the same mentality as I once was.
In school, people tended to compare PSLE results, then compare O level results, then A level results, then University results, and very naturally, when you start work, the only thing quantifiable which can be compared is what? MONEY! So it becomes natural that people just compare how much they have. It's been in people's lives to compare since young. And at any point in time, you aren't supposed to be lagging behind your peers right?
Well, WRONG! You only live your own life. You define your own meaning of success. If you are happy taking care of your kids, that's fine, or if you are happy being a cook, that's fine, whatever you want to do, it's your own life and your own meaning of success. Money and stuff does NOT define how successful you are.
I compare my life with my wife's.
She didn't do well in PSLE, didn't do very well in O levels, A levels, and didn't do too well in Uni.
But guess what? She's happy in her job. Her job pays well enough and she is happy on Sundays cos Monday is a working day. She's also happy on Friday cos weekend is break time. Now I find that highly successful. I forsee her being able to work til 50+ and remain happy in her job. Not working just for money. So she works for fun and money just comes along. Now for someone in this situation, she can not understand my feelings for retirement or even early retirement. And I also would not impose my ideals on her. Cos heck, she's doing better than me right? She's happier and has purpose.
So really, what's the rush?
Your life is going to be 30,000 days. It's how well you live it. It's not about being faster than someone, or richer than someone. It's how happy you are living it. Any second you dread or any second you are unhappy is a waste of your OWN life. If you rush through life not watching your kids grow up, that time is gone. Eventually they won't want you to carry them. They won't want to talk to you. They won't want to show you that cool thing they did, which you think is no big deal. And guess what, YOU lost that forever. No one else.
So seriously, slow down and smell the roses. If you aren't happy about your job or whatever, do something about it. Even if it means taking a lower pay. Spend time with your parents/grand parents. You have a limited amount of time with them. Spend time with your kids, they will only remain kids also for a limited amount of time. Spend time with yourself. You owe it to yourself.
What's the rush.