Use Both Lanes Until the Merge


When you’re driving on the interstate and the lane you’re in ends in five hundred feet, do you get over into the next lane as soon as you can or do you stay in your lane until it ends before moving over? I always believed the right thing to do was to get over as soon as possible rather than waiting to merge. I thought this made me a courteous driver. I have also found myself cursing and frustrated at the drivers who waited until the last possible moment to move over. Sure I was frustrated, but I had my sense of rightness. Well, it turns out I’m wrong. Engineers designed merge lanes to be used until the end, then the zipper rule begins. One after another, drivers create space for each other seamlessly making the most of the lanes available.

The ego gets in the way of the zipper rule because it will always seek out what it believes to be “fair” and “right” over what just makes logistical sense. Driving is one of those activities that brings out the best and the worst in people because the ego is actively engaged in the process. There have been many times I’ve seen someone needed to get over, I’ve let them over and then proceeded to mentally nitpick every move they make as long as they remain in front of me. Really healthy use of my time, right? But this is how many people are in their relationships with others as well as themselves. We’d rather be right than wrong, left than right, rich than broke, pretty than ugly. You get the picture. We categorize ourselves, we judge others, we tally each other up, we assess the pros and cons.

Ultimately in life, there are no right or wrong turns. Whatever you do, you will at some point merge and what meant something before will no longer mean anything. No matter what lane you’re in, you will get to your destination. One lane may take you longer, one may be more scenic, but you’re going where you’re going, so you might as well enjoy the ride. Now I realize this sounds a little bit like I’m saying that everything in your life is predestined. I’m not, really. You get to choose every single thing you do. In any given moment, you are making a choice. Whether to continue reading, whether you agree with what I’m saying, whether you want to be happy or depressed. Full of hope or full of doubt. Whether you want to base all of your decisions on what you have or don’t have. Whether you want to stand in your own way or whether you want to let yourself be. It all comes down to how you want to look at it. That’s the way it is.

The ego is always going to get in the way. You have the ability to decide whether you want to listen to it or not. I don’t know about you, but listening to my ego has never once created better circumstances for my life. Maybe there was a short-term gain, but the cost of following my head has been a big zero. Your head loves a fight. It wants to fight with you, fight with your body, fight with the people you love. I’m right, you’re wrong, so suck it. Every time you fight, you create circumstances that will keep you stuck in the same pattern. Stuck in the same fight.

When I get out of my own way, when I follow the flow of my life, when I listen to my heart and follow where it wants to lead, I find I end up exactly where I want to be.

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2 thoughts on “Use Both Lanes Until the Merge

  1. I found you through my sister, Jennifer Faris Severns. This is brilliant!!! I’m 40 years old and have always felt the same way you have about merge lanes. The thing that still bugs me, though, is people who go to the end of the merge lane and keep going down the emergency lane… I’ve even seen people keep going to the next off ramp and merging with that traffic to get around traffic. Crazy dangerous! But I’ll look at this a different way from now on.

    • Hi Stephanie–so nice to meet you! Thank you so much for checking out my blog. I know Jen’s talked about your blog to me in the past, send me the link when you can. I would love to return the favor! : )

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