Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?
Explaining what “success” is as a caregiver is daunting. On a recent Sunday as we raced stupid fast on super cool racing machines, I realized that learning to drive a go-kart might be a suitable metaphor for learning to be a caregiver.
First, you start with the anticipation of learning to race. You think about how fast you’ll spin around the track, making perfect turns, gunning it on the straight away. You see others driving; therefore, you know if it’s possible for someone else, it’s possible for you. This is gonna be a piece of cake.
Next, then you must learn the rules of the road, stay on track, keep your focus and you should reach your destination successfully. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it?
So, as I was driving around the track, I get hit from behind, wiping out and watching the experts lapping me; I realized that there were three simple instructions to help me stay on track. Here they are:
Look ahead out of the front of the helmet
I remember a driving instructor once told me....
Your car will follow your eyes. Wherever you look the car will go. So, always place your vision on where you want to go, rather than where you don’t want to go.
Nevertheless, I would find myself looking at the karts next to me, behind me, the lines on the track and the tires on the side to make sure I was staying close enough and clear of everyone. My natural tendency was to focus on the places that I did not want to go.
It’s okay to use your brakes
Seriously, going fast is the goal, but that is accomplished through judicious use of the brakes. Of course, don’t ride the brakes like me, but proper application of the brakes to navigate around upcoming obstacles was important.
Celebrate the wins
Let’s be honest, I wasn’t winning any races. Todd “Mario Andretti” was just too good. But I could choose my own victories. Not flipping the kart for example. Making it around the track without spinning out. A lot of little victories verses one big one.
What does any of this have to do with being a caregiver?
Of course, sometimes it feels like all you are doing is going around in circles with maniacs and idiots! Taking a pit stop with our Jack’s brothers can make all the difference.