Full-Throttle Hits Speed Bumps: What Happens When Life Makes You Slow Down

Written by on 10 Nov 2015


So there I was… sitting on the sidewalk in my nicest clothes watching my roommate and a homeless man change my tire.


How did I get there, you ask?


I didn’t bother to hit the brakes.


It was the summer of 2011. I had been living in Stamford, Connecticut for almost a year, when my roommate dropped a bomb on me.


“I’m moving,” he said.

“Uh, what?!” I replied.

“I’m moving to Kansas City,” he repeated.

“Uh, why?!” I cried.


This banter went on for a while, so I’ll spare you the back and forth. Suffice it to say that my roommate was moving half a country away, and I had no idea who I was going to live with next.


No, I did not want to live alone.

No, I could not afford to live by myself.

No, I did not want to move to Kansas, City.


So there I was. In a pickle. And I was rushing around trying to get an answer. Fast.


I started talking to anyone and everyone I could think of who might be in the realm of considering possibly maybe one day moving. Friends. Coworkers. Family members. Even people in other states!


I’m pretty sure I promised fresh-baked cookies every week at one point.


And as you might have guessed… nothing.


I had no leads and was starting to have no hope.


But then, I was thrown a bone.


One of my coworkers was in a long-distance relationship, and his girlfriend had decided to move from Chicago to Stamford to be closer to him. They were not planning on living together, and she certainly did not want to live alone in a brand new city so…


Tracy to the rescue!


Once again, I was in a complete rush to get this settled and figured out.


When is she getting here?

What is she like?

Will she want to live with me?


I was all questions and no answers.


My coworker was in a rush to get us introduced.  My current roommate was in a rush to get ready for his move. I was in a rush to meet and approve of this new girl.


There was so much rushing.


So the afternoon came for me to meet this girl, and guess what, we were late.


And did I mention we were rushing?


As my roommate and I pulled up to meet my new roommate for the very first time, I didn’t even bother to slow down for the curb.


I sped right in and ppfffffffhhhhhhttttttt….


::tire sensor on::


“I’m pretty sure you just popped your tire,” my roommate said, very matter-of-factly.

“No way,” I replied. “That’s not possible.”

“Yea…. Yea you did…” he sighed.



So, out we get, in our nicest ready-to-meet-my-new-roommate clothes, and the two of us just stared at this tire as though it were an alien device.


I’d never changed a tire. I’d never located the tools necessary to change a tire in my car. In fact, I’d never even bothered to check if I had tools in my car that would allow me to change a tire!


It was the first time, in a rather long time, that life had forced me to slow down…


To stop…

To take a moment…

And just breathe.


There was nothing I could do but wait. No rushing. No planning. No reacting.


Just breathing. And thinking.


Everything eventually got taken care of. A random homeless person walked by and offered to help us change the tire. We accepted. My roommate and I went and met my coworker and his girlfriend. She was lovely. We decided to life together for the next year. Amazing memories were made.


And it’s all because I took the time to breathe.


Or rather, because I was forced to take the time to breathe.


Had I rushed into that meal with her, who knows what I would have said or how I would have presented myself. It probably would have seemed like just another transaction-- another speedy lane on my road of life. But because I was forced to take the time to take a deep breath and thinking about what I might say and what she might be thinking, everything changed for the better.


And that got me to thinking…


Imagine the curbs or the speed bumps in your life. The things that make you slow down, change direction, take your time, or just pass through the world at a different pace.


They could be literal or figurative.

They could be annoying or welcome.

They could be obvious or you could right into while pretending that they aren’t even there.


But no matter what you do, there will always be speed bumps in life.


There will always be things that slow you down and force you to pause and reflect.


A conversation that makes you think about something differently. A job role that you didn’t see coming but might be a good fit for you. A relationship that starts to blossom in an unexpected way.


The speed bumps of life.


Now, to be clear, these aren’t road blocks.


They don’t keep you from going somewhere or completely stop your progress. They don’t debilitate you or set you back. They don’t stand in your way.


They just slow you down long enough to think…


To question…

To wonder…

To breathe.


So what will you do with your speed bumps? What will you be thinking when you’re sitting on the curb watching someone else change your tire? What will you do when the world forces you to slow down and take a breather.


Think about it.

Because it will happen.

And you'll want to be ready.


 What speed bumps have you encountered in life?

How has slowing down, even for a moment, helped you see things in a different way?


Leave your thoughts in a comment below!

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