There are a few general rules of living that are universal:
1) You can’t drive faster than the car ahead of you.
2) Drinking your breakfast is NEVER a good idea.
3) Always get a good night’s sleep.
4) Wear clean underwear.
5) Eat your vegetables.
6) Look in the direction you are walking.
Follow these little gems of motherly advice and you can pretty well make it through life intact.
Yesterday I was bumped into by a student looking back over her shoulder as she moved toward the door. It was not a gentle bump. She was completely surprised and subsequently embarrassed. Was she looking back for a friend? Did she think that she may have dropped something important? Whatever the reason, there was nothing either she or I could do to avoid the collision.
I remember repeating general rule number 6 to Stubble over and over again as we made our way through his childhood. He was always looking all about as he moved forward at breakneck speed. Often with painful consequences: The unfortunate tree root on the dirt path; the unexpected bicycle on a collision course; the sign post that he just didn’t see. They were all there in his path waiting to catch him “not looking”.
‘Eyes Forward’ is a good way to live. Not that the past isn’t important and we shouldn’t remember it and value what we had, or that we shouldn’t glance side to side from time to time; but as we move forward, often at a rapid pace, we really need to pay attention to where we are going and the obstacles in the way. And I don’t mean this only in the “walking down a hall” sense. As we make our life choices, we need to be looking ahead figuratively. What are the possible consequences of that move across country, and if you try to go back to where you started again will it prove a huge disappointment? Probably. You have to keep moving forward toward something. It just may be something completely unexpected and unimaginable only a few months ago. That is what life is all about and it can be painful emotionally and physically, it can be messy and hard and, hopefully, ultimately rewarding.
I wish that I had really understood number 6 twenty years ago. I wouldn’t have wasted as much time.
And now, enough philosophizing for one night when I can't sleep...