Look both ways, please

Dear high school girls cross country team,

Kindly look around before you take off in a pack across the park road. I realize you are teenagers and hence invincible, but I assure you, it will hurt when I run you over while going 21 mph on my bike. You won’t win that battle, I’m sorry to say. It will ruin your upcoming cross country season, ruin my Iron Distance race, damage my precious, precious bike and require too much paper work.

Actually, you weren’t the only ones at the park today who were in their own zone. It amazes me how many near misses I have while riding the ring road on my bike. It’s not as if I’m going all that fast. Nor am I riding recklessly. (Hell, I’m the girl who will never get a drafting penalty because I’m too scared to ride close enough to actually draft.)

So what’s the deal people? Why aren’t we looking around? Why are we paying attention.

On the surface, being alert and paying attention is about a combination of personal safety and common courtesy — about being something other than self-absorbed.

But stepping out of our own self-absorption doesn’t require us to be thoughtful and considerate of others. For instance, I’m aware of the people who aren’t aware while I’m on my bike and while it may be thoughtful on one hand for me not to run them over, you can be pretty certain I have a string of not-so-nice sentences rambling through my head at them. My common courtesy is merely an act of civility and perhaps personal self preservation.

And then it got me thinking.

What aren’t we paying attention to?

The universe speaks to us in a million different ways, but so often we miss the subtle messages because we’re crossing the street without looking, oblivious to what’s go on around us.

What am I missing out on by not paying attention to the world around me? I’m not sure, but something tells me, it’s probably some good stuff. Time to go look around.

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