We can all lay claim to taking chance decisions in life that, in retrospect, have been less than wise. Not one to hide in a cave lamenting my failings in private, I confess to many times acting in a manner that would raise an eyebrow or two from those who purport to know better, who are possibly wiser in the finer points of getting through life in one piece.
On one such occasion, edging out from a side road onto a main road, through a line of traffic that was being held up further along, was one of those times where, looking back, life could have had a very different outcome had I not been the cautious fellow I am…
For down the outside of the queue of traffic, on the wrong side of the road, head on into any oncoming vehicles which, as fortune smiles upon the brave, there weren’t any at this particular time, barrelled a little old lady who could barely see over her steering wheel, evidently fed up with queuing with the rest of the civilised world and possibly anxious to get the tea on before her overlord returned expecting his food on the table and his slippers at the ready. I can think of no other reason, save she wasn’t used to driving on the correct side of the road and hailed from foreign climes…
As the car driver I edged out in front of through the queue beckoned me to go, I opened the throttle on my Suzuki GSX 750 and made my move…
Here comes granny at a great rate of knots like a rabbit caught in the headlights!
As life’s rich tapestry records the events that fateful day, I happened to be looking in the direction from whence the naughty driver approached and I promptly stood the bike on its nose, pulling a stoppie as the offending car and driver skimmed past me and carried on overtaking the line of waiting vehicles. As the back wheel of the bike crashed earthwards, I took a quick look at the ashen face of the driver who had beckoned me out, as he mouthed “was I alright?”
I was alive and, in that moment, had learnt a very valuable life lesson to not rely on anyone’s signals when riding my bike, or driving any vehicle for that matter, but only to rely on my own sightlines and actions based on available facts that I could actually, literally see at any given point.
I escaped certain injury, possibly even death as the speed that granny was motoring at would have seriously wiped me from the four corners of this habitable surface.
So, the decisions we make, based on the moment we are living in, often have consequences less than favourable, but as a species, we are risk takers. We take a chance. We eat the berries and, if we survive, we continue with our choice. Alternatively, our ancestor who ate the berries and as they were poisonous died, taught us all a valuable lesson to avoid such dangers. And so civilisation progressed.
In the acceptance that life isn’t forever and that we all shuffle off this mortal coil sooner or later, I worked out that by looking at my own family history of natural life expectancy, I had somewhere in the region of twenty to thirty years left if I’m lucky. As anyone past a certain age will confirm, time speeds up the older you get and whereas summer holidays stretched into the far distance and life was an eternity (well having to sit through a Sunday sermon certainly was), the fact I have fewer days left than I’ve already had, stirs the heart and mind to find reason to this life and, in looking back, judging myself on what I’ve said and done by the standard of has it been time well spent?
Devoid of youthful ability and strength, taking a chance on what is left in life sharpens the mind to the immediate tasks in hand.
I used to think that as I survived the years of bike riding, my time was not yet. And so it was. But if we are here on this planet for any reason other than selfish amusement, there must be cause to contemplate in not only a retrospective analysis but also in forward aspects too.
I’d like to think that our connectivity one with another is a prime directive. To meet our fellow creature and treat him or her as we would wish to be treated.
Mind you, I’ve not stopped taking chances. Just the other day a photo was requested that had me balancing on a roof just to get the desired shot. Not necessarily an issue until you realise that I’m here alone and my rotting corpse, should I have fallen, would probably not have been found until such alarm had been raised due to lack of usual communication.
Search parties would have been sent forth.
As I’m able to write this, the risk taken was not such to cause me harm…this time.
As surprised as I am when I awake each new morning, my gratitude to being given another chance to communicate with you and those around me in the ether, is not diminished. I have another day to take a chance on whatever life’s rich tapestry deigns to throw at me, so if we learn from our mistakes and grow accordingly, then I commend to the house that risky venture on taking a chance…
Carry on regardless!
Do let me know in the comments below what chances you’ve taken and how the outcome has positively affected your life…