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By Mike Rosen

My advanced age brings much, some gray hair, regular prostate checks, the usual. It also brings a deeper well of memories and its edgy cousin nostalgia. Remember MTv? Of the many plusses as I advance is a deeper sense of curiosity and openness. My wiser, more experienced mind helps me understand that one of the few things I’m certain of is that I don’t know and that’s fantastic.

With that, I’m a better driver than most. That’s not judgment, it’s observation. I’m not sure exactly what the measure(s) are–deft, highly anticipatory driving in the city, navigating, I’m not sure. But I am. Of the many proud parenting moments I’ve witnessed with my 3 boys was hearing one of them say to another “There’s a rhythm to driving and right now you don’t have it.” Whichever one of my other boys said it, I don’t remember, and he was exactly right. Apple, apple, apple, tree.

In early May a bunch of family and friends drove from Chicago to Des Moines for a full weekend of fun—concert Friday night at a brand new venue, a gravel bike race Saturday morning, big party Saturday night just because. The drive takes about 5 hours from home in the Chicago suburbs. I drove, Kelly and a smattering of family rode. We stopped at the World’s Largest Truck Stop outside of the Quad Cities (btw, can you name all four Quad Cities?). If you’re nearby and you’ve never stopped you should, again, just because.

Somewhere west of Iowa City and the rolling, green hills,, traffic on I-80 picked up considerably and the rhythm of the drive was entirely disrupted. Finding patience and calm in these instances is a challenge for me. There were Buicks camped in the left lane, Teslas passing on the right, trucks pulling their best ‘Convoy’ imitations.  Turns out C.W. McCall is from Audobon, Iowa and went to the University of, who knew?!

Anyway, the depth and breadth of driving incompetence was staggering. Again, no judgment, that’s observation.  Kelly could sense my growing agitation and kindly offered to drive. “It’s not me! It’s THEM! There’s NO RHYTHM!!! Changing drivers isn’t going to help!” I offered in what I hoped was a calm and reasonable voice but likely wasn’t. I kept driving, the rhythm and driver recovered after a bit. She’s lovingly patient with me.

Fast forward to Sunday and the return trip home. For reasons unimportant, I was driving back with my oldest son Jack in his 2000 Toyota Tundra. (He raced on Saturday too, the two of us were the only ones amongst our group who finished. The rest succumbed to the hills, wind, cold, and rain and quit 22 miles into the 50 mile race. That’s my boy!!!) His truck has 234,000 miles on it and he takes care of it very well and very thoroughly. He drove and when we began the eastbound journey he gently accelerated and eased the truck to the right lane, set the cruise control to 72, and turned on the playlist he had built on Spotify. Off we went. Jack has fitted his Tundra with a small, dash-mounted digital display that shows  a variety of engine data–temperatures, pressures, etc. including gas mileage–data that wasn’t often displayed in cars of that analog era. I noticed the Average MPG creeping up slowly and holding steady around 23.6. Not bad for a 24-year old truck! When I pointed out the surprising efficiency, Jack shared how pleasant he finds hanging out in the right lane, efficiently cruising along, not worrying about the comparative high-speed traffic in the left lane. Huh. Kid might be onto something.

The next night I was meeting him in Milwaukee where he goes to school. We had tickets to see Death Cab for Cutie, a band we both like. As I settled into traffic for the 90-minute drive, I wondered how efficient my Hyundai SUV could be in the right lane. First I’d need to slow down from my preferred speed around 90. Cruise control set to 72. Avg MPG creeps up. 24. 25. 26. All the way up to 30.9. What if I dropped it to 70? 31.2 Huh. 69 MPH? 31.9 68 MPH? 32.3?! Huh. This is fantastic!

It occurred to me how analogous this new discovery was to how I often approach life. That very evening in Milwaukee, Jack and I were riding our Bubblrs back to his apartment after the show and he yelled from behind “WHY ARE WE RIDING SO FAST?!?!?” I laughed hard and expressed that it was a great observation/question Jack. I don’t know why.

Maybe I can move to the figurative right lane in other ways? Maybe my experience in life, like fuel efficiency and mood, would improve noticeably if I slowed down and checked my oft-misguided instinct to GO AS FAST AS I CAN!  Maybe there would be a little less frustration, a little less angst, a little less judgment, and more peace, acceptance, and calm.

When I arrived in Milwaukee that evening I felt all of those–much more at peace, much calmer, and in a relaxed, flow state. Yeah, it took a few more minutes than it would have otherwise, but it simply felt better. I’m curious about other ways I can ‘move to the right’ and what other ways I may be barreling down the left lane or riding my bike as fast as I possibly can?

Within 24 hrs Jack had wisely pointed out two ways in which I have been barreling through life. I invite you to try it next time you’re on the highway or next time you’re on your bike (but not if it’s an actual race!)  Move to the right lane, set the cruise control at 68 or 70 or 72 and see how it feels for you. I’m curious what it brings up and what you might find.


About Mike Rosen

Mike leads the weekly Separation/Divorce support calls. As a divorced father of 3, he understands the benefit and value in creating and sharing a space with other men who are experiencing the same thing. Although he has no formal training in social work or therapy or counseling, he aims to help men feel supported along the process, wherever they may be, due to whatever circumstances.  Divorce and separation can be a lonely, painful, frustrating, sad, and isolating process, one that doesn’t need to be traversed alone.


  • Todd Adams says:

    Nice job Mike Rosen. Great reminder for me ❤️

  • Frank Naugo says:

    Love it Mike! Jack is a sage. You rode your Bubblrs? What’s a Bubblr?

  • Chris Willett says:

    Mike so much of what you wrote resonates with me. I’m all for the slow Mo movement. Most of the time I drive in the slow lane and nothing drives me more nuts then when somebody’s is riding my bumper and I’m in the slow lane it’s like what the fuck dude just passed me. I often want to grab other people and just tell them to slow down what’s the hurry we’re all gonna end up in the same place (6 feet under).. There are times I’m eating with someone and I look over them they’re finished and I’ve only had a couple bite. I can tell you from experience it’s hard being a slow Mo person in the fact place world. It’s one of the reasons I do so many things by myself I need and want to go slow. Thanks for the article cheers Chris

    • Mike Rosen says:

      Chris! Thanks for the note. It’s a legit challenge–slowing down, checking myself, asking “Am I in the Right Lane on this?” Like much, it’s a practice and I can relate more and more to the ‘what’s your hurry?’ approach. Great to see you last weekend too…

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