Sunday, April 22, 2007

drivers wanted

This is an old VW ad slogan. The idea is that there are two kinds of people in the world: drivers and passengers. This slogan challenges you to step up to the plate and announce yourself as a driver by buying a VW. Yeah, whatever.

But I've been thinking about this concept lately anyway. I tend to be pretty passive. I've had a lifetime, heavilly weighted in the direction of childhood, of experiences which conditioned me to be adaptable and open to a variety of situations. Specifically, I've been trained to let others have their way while I acclimate myself to their decisions.

This started out, I'm sure, as a survival skill, but it is turning more and more into a liability. I finally realized what it's like on the other side of my passivity during the silent hike with the buddhists last weekend. Several of the participants remarked that they found it really nice to know that they were being led on the hike. Because they trusted the leader and didn't have to worry about the details (picking out a hike, paying attention to the trails, finding the way back), they were able to relax into the detached mindfullness which was the point of the hike.

As they spoke, I realized I *always* feel relaxed on hikes because I am *always* being led. I'm never the one to pick out a hike location, figure out how to get there, find the trails and the ways up and down. I'm always hanging around with other people who have always seemed by their natures to take charge of things, to plan the hikes or trips or outings. I offer input when asked and otherwise I make myself amenable to whatever they want.

I realized, as people talked about the relief of being led, that it's been unfair for me to hog that experience, especially in my relationships. I should start planning and leading some activities so SK, for example, can enjoy the feeling of relaxing and being led along, not having to worry whether she'll remember the way back to the car. I should try and spread the joy a little.

And really, with SK in England for three months and with me out of school, circumstances are driving me to become less passive. If I sat around waiting for someone to come up with something to do, I'd be sitting around with nothing to do until July. Instead, I've started actually planning things for myself, lining up social activities and outings, checking the paper for movies and shows, checking out dvds from the library. After nearly four years of school and three very involved relationships in a row, I'm suddenly all alone (until July at least) and free to entertain myself however I like. It's pretty exciting. A challenge I look forward to tackling.

3 Comments:

Blogger LeLo in NoPo said...

Ah, to lead or to follow. I tend to lead, but when AdRi and I go to Mexico, because her first language is spanish, I find myself in the following mode. She has to talk to people and ask directions, etc., and it took some time getting used to. But now I recognize it for what it is: a chance for me to take a break and for her to call the shots. It's kinda nice. :) Good for you for recognizing and thinking about this: it's an interesting dynamic to be aware of in a relationship.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous SK said...

yay! good thinking batwoman:-))
sharing the load sounds awesome, and nice too read of your solo pursuits, crushes and stalking plans from london town;-)))

sk

1:12 AM  
Blogger Melinda Barton said...

Good going. Weird thing is though that this makes me realize that I'm usually the go it alone, hike the rainforest by myself, walking off the trails type. Maybe I need to get a hiking buddy.

9:57 AM  

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