Hear me out. I have not lost my marbles, at least not yet, but I am finding that Google Maps is an effective mindfulness tool. While driving. Often in traffic. Here’s how…I’ve started using Google Maps more and more even when I know where I’m going, to tell me which is the quickest route depending on the time of day and traffic conditions. While I love living in Hout Bay (and I really, really do love living in Hout Bay), it kind of sucks that there are only two main exit points: along the coast, or over Constantia Nek. Both single lane roads liable to get clogged at certain times of the day.
So when I know I have to travel at peak traffic times, I ask Google Maps to tell me which way to choose. Nothing special about that, right? What is special is the way it highlights which part of the road is congested (in red) and tells me how many minutes extra I’m going to be in the car because of it. This morning, for example, I had a 6 minute longer drive because of traffic, but it was still 9 minutes quicker than going the coastal route – easy decision, right?
But here’s where the mindfulness comes in. Usually, if I’m stuck in traffic, I quite quickly work myself into a frothy about how much time I’m wasting and convince myself that it will, in fact, never end, and I may be on this stretch of highway for the rest of my life (I am not a particularly patient driver, as you can probably tell). But if I know that it’s just this stretch and it’s just for 6 minutes, then I can kick back and relax. Appreciate the cold aircon on my face, the tunes I’m playing, the trees lining the side of the road. Take a moment to consciously breathe. Six minutes really isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things, so I don’t let it affect me.
Especially because I know I’m definitely on the best possible route – there’s no better option that would get me there quicker. So this is as good as it can be to get to where I want to go.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were Google Maps for life? You decide where you want to go, it tells you which life option to choose to get there with a minimum of fuss, and warns you ahead of time which parts will be difficult, and for how long.
Want to start your own business? It will take 2 years before you break even, and March to May of the first year will be rough, followed by a rocky period from November to January and one more in June the following year. But if what you want is autonomy and work-life balance, this is definitely the best way to get there. No second guessing, no existential crises, no wondering if you will ever get out of the pit of despair, because it’s all laid out for you.
Maybe I should pitch it to Google as their Next Big Thing?