Friends, colleagues, blog visitors, lend me your eyes...
Tonight I had a weird and moving experience which I wanted to share. Here’s the message: life is short, and you should enjoy each day as if it were your last, because you never know what will happen.
As you may know I live in Westlake Village, CA, about 140 miles northwest of my office in Vista, CA, and hence I have a rather long commute. I’ve been driving down to Vista at least once a week for nearly five years now, and it really isn’t bad; I enjoy the drive time as a quiet time for reflection and planning. In those five years I’ve seen my share of accidents but fortunately I’ve avoided any myself and have had only a few annoying near misses (knocking on wood). However, tonight as I was traveling home from the office I had the experience of seeing three entirely separate horrible fatal accidents. I didn’t see any of them happen, but in each case I was close enough that emergency vehicles were still arriving as I sat in traffic behind them.
The first was a big truck which jackknifed across the center divider just South of the border control station in Camp Pendleton, smashing at least two other cars in the process. The second was a three car accident where the 73 joins the 405, seemingly caused by a car ramming the end of a guardrail and subsequently bursting into flame. The third was a car which ran into the center divider of the 405 in the Sepulveda Pass (north of L.A.), and then bounced across five lanes of traffic before ramming a hillside and flipping, spinning and smashing at least three other cars as it did so. Each accident was worse than the previous, and seeing all three in sequence was a spooky and sobering experience.
It occurred to me that ordinary people like you and me died in these accidents, within minutes of the time I passed them. They got up that morning living their day per usual, going about their business, with no idea at all that this day was going to be their last. If they had known, maybe they would have kissed their kids a little longer, or hugged their dogs, or been nicer to their colleagues in email. Maybe they would have made a donation to a charity, or spent time in their backyard enjoying the sun. Or coded an amazing piece of software :)
I don’t want to be too sappy about this, but for me this really was an “inflection point”. The memory of that drive is going to stay with me, and I’m going to try to live each day as if it were my last, because you just never know.