First there was the holiday planned around how we wanted to feel rather than what we wanted to do.
Then came the holiday where I chose to drive under the speed limit.
The theory was that driving fast was more stressful, and of course more dangerous. As a result, driving just a bit under the speed limit would make for a better holiday.
Starting in Alberta where we were on a 4-laner with a speed limit of 110 kph made it easy. Everyone else was driving 120+ it seemed, and we never passed anyone. Very relaxing.
When we hit the Saskatchewan border at Lloydminster, the speed limit dropped to 100 and in places 90, so we were 95 or 85 kph. This seemed a bit slow, but I persevered in my commitment.
The real test came when we hit a long stretch of gravel roads in Manitoba with a speed limit of 80 kph. Our 75 began to feel painfully slow. People couldn’t pass us easily so it made for a bit more stress as the line built up behind us and I pulled over a few times to let them pass..
So I discovered an interesting dichotomy: Driving under the speed limit when the limits were high was a stress-reducer. Driving under the speed limit when the limits were already low was a stress-inducer.
Perhaps there’s a safe comfortable pace for everything, and it’s somewhat situational.
When I have a month to prepare a new talk, reading a book or two on the subject in question is relaxing and beneficial. When I’m preparing a presentation for a board of directors in a few hours, trying to integrate data I’ve just received, any interruption creates a spike in stress.
Given the choice, I prefer to live with margin of every kind- time, energy, financial- which gives the option of a slower pace when that pace makes sense.
What doesn’t seem to work is when I’m required to go 15 or 20 kph over the speed limit for a long period of time.
That’s neither safe, nor relaxing, nor productive, nor conducive to a full and meaningful life.