On a pretty Florida day I was traveling down life’s highway. I happened to glance in my rearview mirrors. I don’t do it that often. What interesting devices these things are. Metaphorically speaking they can prevent serious injury or dredge up happy or sad thoughts, all in the same motion.
To start, they prevent you from getting hit from behind. Or if you are going to get rear ended, at least you can take your foot off the brake to soften the blow. After you’ve robbed a bank they can keep you keenly aware of were the cops are, in their pursuit. Perhaps you are Dustin Johnson in the Fedex Cup. You know where the contenders are and in this case you just step on the gas a little harder.
It amazes me how often we look at the rearview mirror of our lives. The romantic in all of us thinks back to when times were simple. The maelstrom of our modern times creates a yearning for much more laid back years of adolescence and early adulthood. You can be 38 or 78 and you still feel that way. Probably wasn’t quite as good as we remembered but who is counting? Besides as you get older there fewer and fewer who can call you out.
The ego in us recalls triumphs and achievements. It could be something small or big but man you were a legend in your own mind. Of course you ran the company and they couldn’t do without you. Golf? Tennis? Basketball? Football?. You coulda been a contender ! The big time was at your doorstep. If only.
There are also the memories of lost opportunities. Why didn’t I go for it? Raise my hand? Take a chance? I knew I was right but never spoke up. Not just woulda’s coulda’s and shoulda’s but a deep sense of regret that I should have done better. The boulevard of broken dreams and busted taillights. Have you been there?
We seem to be hellbent on changing the past. There is an absurdity in that. I can’t take back what I said 5 seconds ago. It might have been hurtful or snide or just stupid but it is gone except in our minds. The palm smash on your forehead or that sick feeling in your gut when you say, Uh Oh! I can’t believe I just said this or did that.
We look at the news of a tragedy, 9/11, a forest fire, or a senseless killing with a whole lot of sorrow and also a sense of the irrational. Maybe if I watch it enough times it won’t be real or the ending will turn out differently? Maybe this is just a dream and I will wake up soon. Reality is just that and fairy tales don’t come true.
Today we have the COVID. We want to hold a post mortem while we don’t even know if the catastrophe is half way through. Historians opine a lot more clearly in decades than in weeks. We of course want to convene a court now. There has to be someone we can blame. Of course none of the culpability is ours. Ha !
Therein lies one of the rubs. Every single thing in our life is the result of a decision we have made. Where did we go to school? What job did we take? Did you ask out a particular girl or guy and then marry them? Great successes. Dismal failures. The buck stops here on every one of them. Many of us can’t seem to accept that. We want to blame. We want to make excuses. It has to be someone else’s fault.
The other significant part is change. We can look back and think of this or that time. Leave things just as they are and we will be just fine. That is unless someone brings up a quote or bad act from my past and then we are front and center saying we don’t think like that anymore. Funny how that works
If you have a good life you don’t want anything to change. If your life sucks you can’t wait for it. Neither is a panacea. We have problems on a number of fronts. We have to deal with them and if we are smart, no one will be happy with the solution because it means that each side had to give.
My last thought is a simple one. I can’t change the past and I have no idea what the future will bring. I could literally get hit by a car tomorrow. I can plan but it doesn’t mean all my variables are right. Crystal balls and OIJA boards are BS and we know it.
Right now I am thoroughly enjoying myself by writing to friends. I am not thinking yesterday or tomorrow. I am living in the present. Sounds weird or some sort of psychobabble but it is really pretty cool. For a few moments or even a few hours you just exist without anything heavy duty. Going forward, I am going to concentrate on the road just far enough ahead so I don’t run into anything. As for the rear view mirrors? Who needs them?. I think I am taking mine off. How about you?
Ted The Great
According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), out of the 6 million car accidents that happen on U.S. roads every year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions.
At the Indy 500,Tony Stewart set the pole mark of 233.100 mph in 2006 on a track that had been just resurfaced, while Arie Luyendyk eclipsed him with the fastest single lap in speedway history with a mark of 236.986 miles per hour (381.39 kilometres per hour) the following day. Do you think they look back?
The shape of the mirror makes a difference in our perception. In the U.S., passenger-side mirrors are convex (curved slightly outward), whereas driver-side mirrors are flat. A convex mirror placed on the passenger side reduces the driver’s blind spots on that side of the vehicle by presenting a wider field of view, but it also makes other cars appear farther away due to a slight distortion caused by the shape. The flatter mirror on the driver’s side produces a more accurate depiction of what’s behind the car with a more narrow field of view, since light bounces off in the same direction that it hits the mirror and doesn’t distort the reflection of the object.
The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment
https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200811/the-art-now-six-steps-living-in-the-moment?eml. This is a very interesting article. You might like it. BTW, I won’t tell anyone you read it.