• Dr. Thom

Driving at Night: Simple advice for stressed seniors


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

We have a mantra for our seniors, something for them to lean on during the busiest of times. November 1st, with all of the early college application deadlines, is certainly one of those times. Essays, interviews, applications, and deadlines, all mix with the typical homework, practice, sleep routines. It can be overwhelming.


We remind our students to think about driving a car at night. Our oldest son has taken driver’s education and has his learner’s permit. He doesn’t feel overly comfortable driving at night yet; I think he is scared of “overdriving.” Overdriving your headlights means driving faster than what you can see in the illuminated area ahead.


Sure, you can only see a few hundred feet in front of you, but you can drive the whole journey that way if you had to. You may need to take your time, plan carefully, and not drive too fast. But you will get there. For now, just focus on the next thing you have to do. Be present in that moment. Then move on to the next thing.


This metaphor is courtesy of American novelist E.L. Doctrow, and it is the perfect mindset for busy times. (My wife may have helped with the driver’s ed reminders. Her knuckles may also be permanently white and clenched, as our son prefers practicing driving in her car.)


Do not worry about what is beyond your view, beyond the headlights. There will be time for that later, for now, just drive.


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