Thursday, February 5, 2009

There's no simulator in the game of life.

After a 3 week blog entry hiatus, (actually I was just way too busy, but a hiatus makes it seem like I was vacationing on some tropical beach), I am back to post my thoughts and opinions on everything under the sun. I'm sure most of you were beginning to experience symptoms of withdrawal without my witty repartee. Well, at least these are the things I tell myself before I float off to sleep at night.

Recently it occurred to me that there are a great host of things in this life that we, unfortunately, only get to learn while in the process of actually doing them. This occurred to me while I was trying to shimmy my car down a snow-laden street in my neighborhood. As a life-long resident of Indiana, (well there were those three months in college, but everyone has to experiment, right?) I have driven on my fair share of snowy streets. In fact last winter I got my car stuck - REALLY stuck - across the street from my house. It took hours to get it out. I've learned my lesson and now I'll be parking in my garage until May!

After 19 (egad!) winters of driving in snow and ice, I feel like I've finally figured out the finess and just the right touch it takes in order to drive safely in bad conditions. But that wasn't always the case. I'm sure there were times that I drove too fast or pounced on the accelerator too hard only to find that all that did was spin my tires and, often, dug me even further into my icy auto prison. I came out of my learning period pretty much unscathed, but that's not always the case for new drivers or at least drivers new to the conditions. Unfortunately, (at least to my knowledge) there's no icy road driving simulator. The only way to learn how the car reacts is to actually be out in those conditions driving. That means danger for the driver as well as all of those in that driver's path. I don't have any children, but my heart goes out to the parents of new drivers who are out there driving in the snow for the first time. I'd probably worry myself into old age pretty quickly every time that my son or daughter walked out the door.

That's how life is though, huh? Parents don't usually get a dress rehearsal or try-out before they start raising their children. Couples, even those that live together, don't really know what marriage is going to be like until they're in the thick of it. Often times if we choose one path, there isn't really time or an opportunity to take another if it doesn't work out the way we planned. There are too seldom do-overs in life.

After riding a motorcycle for 4+ years, I am in awe every time I get on it that I didn't seriously and permanently hurt myself or others while I was learning. Sure, I broke my arm, but that's practically as good as new and I rode thousands of miles with very little experience under my belt. Now I look back and think, "Wow! I didn't know anything about riding and they let me on the road." ......and I'm sure in another 4 years, I'll look back on now and think, "Wow, I thought I knew what I was doing, but in reality I was clueless!"

So life is dangerous and scary and most of the time we're playing for keeps. Why, then, do we not treat it as such? Why aren't we more careful about handling our cars, our bodies, our tongues and the hearts of those we care about most? How can we be reminded of the fragility of these things before we are confronted by damage or injury or disease?

I don't have any answers.

I guess that's why I'm asking the questions.

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