“At seventy miles an hour you don’t steer you just aim,” my father said to me, a really long time ago. I have to agree. Once you reach a certain speed you are no longer actually changing direction, it is more of just an adjustment to the direction, in very small increments. A very important adjustment if you don’t want to end up in a ditch. What I did not know at the time was how true that was for life.
Life, it turns out, begins with steering and becomes about aiming. It is the million, simple, small decisions and choices that we make every day that determine the direction of our lives. The seemingly inconsequential decision to buy a good pair of shoes, or go to the movies can be life changing in ways that we cannot predict. Small choices appear to have no significance but can have an accumulative effect. Think of a loved one that you used to contact and then contacted less and less.
As any adult can tell you, life speeds up to a pace that makes Christmas seem as frequent as weekends – or close anyway… The five years I spent at one school seemed to last way, way longer than the last decade has. This phenomenon is experienced more and more as you age. I said, “You don’t know how long a decade is, until you are thirty,” to a woman in line at the grocery store. A septuagenarian ahead of us in line replied, “You don’t know how short youth is until you’re seventy.” But the pace is what surprises me.
Unlike the large questions of youth, “What career should I choose?”; “Should I marry?”; “Children?” the decisions as you age are more of an adjustment to your life, more subtle but no less significant. Simple, small choices, have the potential to change the entire direction of your life. If you are aiming it is important to know what your target is. These targets can be way more elusive than more obvious decisions like where to live. Problem is, failure to make a choice is still making a choice not to decide. Just thoughts…