Thursday, August 9, 2012

Finding peace

For the past year, I've been working on my anger issues.  I'm not saying that beforehand I was a raging lunatic, I just tended to take the world on.  Maybe it's the 25% German side of me who wants everyone to do the right thing.  Maybe it's the little control freak inside trying to take over. Either way, I know it's not healthy.

Until this year, I would listen to NPR daily, and would get utterly pissed off at the world.  It was if I were a ten year old boy, jacked up on redbulls with a lightsaver in my hands.  Sure, I'd be educated on the world's happenings but it wasn't exactly a win-win situation.  My energy would be drained and my husband had to deal with my rants.  He always knew when I had listened to NPR or the BBC because I'd start a sentence with "Can you believe...?"

Hello, I'm Kierstin, and I'm a recovering news addict.  Since I've been on a news diet (I still read the Economist and The Huffington Post), I find that I'm happier, I sleep better and my husband is in turn happier...until I hear about cyclists being hit by cars or cyclist's rights being taken away.  Within an instant, as if someone has flipped an "on" switch, I am back on the war path.  My cycling friends have, I hope, gotten used to this and have learned to tune me out when needed.  I'm sure they know what's coming when I call them and bypass all niceties.  There's no "Hey, what's happening?" or "How are you?"  Sometimes I think they would like to shake or slap me if they were in the same room.  Believe me, I am working on this and hope improve over time!

So, what set me off this past week?  While out on a ride, I came across a cyclist that had just been struck by a car.  I won't go into every detail, I'll just say that he was not breaking any laws and had the right of way. The driver not only hit him but did not want the ambulance or police called even though the cyclist was injured.  I was completely calm and collect while helping the cyclist.  I got the police called, helped the rider off the road and made sure the driver of car wouldn't leave the scene.  I guess this calmness goes back to why I wanted to be an EMT years ago and why I got certified in it as well as my Wilderness First Responder.  I do well in traumatic scenes.  I can sift through what needs to be done quickly and then act accordingly.  I don't start thinking about the "issue" until later.  When the police arrived and I was dismissed, I continued on my ride.  That is when the wheels started churning in my head, not just on my bike.  I began to run the situation over and over again in my mind until I was mad at every driver on the road.  I started seeing cars as the problem to most issues in the world and the taste of bile lingered in my mouth.  I realized I wasn't gaining joy, as I usually do, from my ride.

Looking back at the situation, I made myself a victim of sorts.  I allowed this unknown driver to affect me much more deeply than I should have.  Don't get me wrong, what he did was horrible and he should have been punished.  The cyclist should have also been treated in a much better manner.  It's how I reacted after the fact that I should have changed.  I've learned from past experiences that change occurs more quickly when frantic energy isn't the force behind it.  Practicing what I've learned isn't that easy.  Although I hope this type of incident will never happen again, if I do come across it, I will do what I can and know that it's all I can do.

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