Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.
— Matthew Broderick, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off
If you want to keep up with life, you can’t pretend that things will slow down sometime in the future — because they never will. You therefore need to seize control of your life this very moment, while your opportunities are still in sight.
This point was really driven home by Cassie’s grandmother today, when she met the two of us for lunch in celebration of her 76th birthday.
Cassie and I made plans to visit her Grandma today so that we could wish her a happy birthday. After opening her gifts, Grandma decided she’d drive us to the shopping plaza just across the street for lunch. We all piled into Grandma’s car for the short ride.
In stereotypical grandmother style, she then began to very timidly navigate her car to the parking lot exit.
The exit was no more than a driveway that met the street perpendicularly. We were lent no help from a traffic light, and what made matters worse was that the street we intended to cross had 5 lanes: two westbound lanes, two eastbound lanes, and the fifth and final right-hand-turn lane.
It was this furthest lane that would get us into the shopping center, but during our approach it became apparent that we were arriving just a few seconds too late — traffic was closing in on us from both directions, and there was no way we could make the difficult left turn in the same timid manner Grandma had driven to the roadside. In fact, Cassie had already begun talking about how she regularly made a habit of turning right, and then entered the shopping center from its back entrance on the next block over.
Before Cassie could completely explain her strategy, however, Grandma wasted no time in gunning the gas, tearing off into the street, and steering her four-door coupe across all four lanes — successfully making the left turn that would get us to lunch the quickest. At no time did she do anything dangerous or illegal — she simply seized the opportunity without hesitation before it was too late. I was impressed by her reaction speed and respected her spontaneity.
Grandma’s decision to act quickly caused me to think about how life isn’t so different — it’s a relatively short opportunity to make a move. Of course, it’s on a much larger scale (much more important than simply crossing a street), but the result is the same if you stay still when opportunity knocks.
If you never make your move, you will always be in the same spot, staring at the same obstacle that’s still in your way. Whenever you reassess your current stage in life, the only differences would be that you’re a bit older, a bit more frustrated, and probably wondering where you went wrong.
So if you want your life to be happy, successful, meaningful, and filled with adventure then you simply have to get on with it so you don’t miss out — hit the pedal with confidence and start your ride!
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