Break the Limit

By Patrick McNerthney 

Last spring the city changed the speed limit signs on all the arterial roads around here to 25 m.p.h. Which of course means everyone drives at least 30 m.p.h., with a few stressed out, self-absorbed, easily-distracted-by-their-phones folks pushing it to about 35 m.p.h. when they’re busy.

This miserable demonstration of respect for law and order is (ironically) a vast improvement in public safety, which I happen to champion to the degree I talk about it when we have friends over for dinner. Which may explain why our friends never come for dinner. Although I have to admit, 25 on-the-nose is pretty sleepy, so I set my cruise control to a comfortable, law-abiding, yet slightly rebellious 28 m.p.h., mostly, you know, to look cool. 

Here’s what’s weird: Previously the speed limit on arterial roads was 30 m.p.h., which somehow encouraged everyone to drive at least 40, (except me, much to my wife’s chagrin – can you believe she says I drive like an “old lady”?). It was as if people viewed “30” as an invitation, if not encouragement, to drive really fast, relatively speaking.   

Yet there’s something about “25” that makes folks only break the law a little bit, which in turn enhances public safety. I guarantee our local policy makers and their scientific road safety research teams figured this out based on real data, and would love to share it with anyone interested; namely, me. But they don’t return my calls for some reason…

(You may ignore me, but just a tad, okay?)

Speed limits foster safety, but their primary objective is to control flow, so folks can get from one place to another somewhat seamlessly. It’s kind of like the airline worker in front of the skyway checking a boarding pass: If the plane is boarding, (and maybe if the first-class folks have all been appropriately honored and are properly seated), the airline doesn’t care if you’re in line, before your row number is called. Nope. They’re concentrating on traffic flow, just like the speed limit sign. (You should try it some time. I’ve jumped the line before, and as long as I don’t mess with first class, nobody cares.)

Organizing flow is important, especially when it comes to cars, airplanes, and other stuff that involves large groups of people moving around. The only problem is, we get so accustomed to obeying (and setting) limits, we forget that some things in life are better without them, like love, kindness, and especially creative expression.

Creative expression is the act of simply making. We could be making sounds with a drum, a story with words, a picture with paint and canvas, or other traditionally artistic stuff. Or, we could be making a connection with our coworkers, customers, our residents and loved ones. Either way, we’re creatively making something that didn’t exist before.

(See? Something that didn’t exist before!)

Here’s the thing; when we’re being creative, do we ever wonder about its limit? Or ask ourselves if today is the day it’s finally going to run out? I think maybe, sometimes, yes. But after a while, if we reflect on it, we realize creative expression doesn’t have a limit. It may have edges–sure, but no limits. What an amazing resource that is! 

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) knows this well, which is why they champion creative expression as a way for caregivers, professional or otherwise, to help underserved populations suffering from depression, anxiety, and loneliness thanks to social isolation. FAM offers a variety of programs that foster confidence, self-worth, a sense of mastery, relevance, and connection (a.k.a. the emotions and feelings necessary to battle social isolation) for the elderly, children with challenges, and anyone who simply needs help with daily life. 

What does this mean? It means you can use  Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, Drama Therapy, Drumming Exercise Therapy, and ART2GO packages to create the happiness, joy, and hope that are currently absent from your residents’ loved ones’ lives. Then, in a weird twist of fate, by giving them a chance to make something that didn’t exist before, you’re making something that didn’t exist before!  

So what are you waiting for? Call FAM today, or drop them a note, and they’ll get you started! 

Well, I need to get my kid from school. At 25 m.p.h. it’s gonna take a while so I better leave now. Rest assured, I’ll look super cool while I’m doing it.


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