Living Life a Quarter Mile at a Time

Zsuzsanna - Plymouth/MI/48170, Michigan
Entered on October 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem

Living life a quarter mile at a time for me means living now.

A long dirt road after the rail road crossing used to be heaven for Danny. He would sit there at the top of the hill, grip the handlebars and give it some gas. A couple years ago, Danny’s ATV was in the ditch and he was 30 feet further on the ground not moving. Doctors said he was airborne after the crash, and hit the telephone pole with his neck and the back of his head. Few months later his parents took him off life support. My friend Danny was gone.

Part of my track at our new house is this quarter mile straightway that I always use for speed. I was about three quarters down this stretch on my ATV, the wind in my face just having a blast. It was time to slow down for the u-turn at the end of this stretch, so I gripped the brake handle, then pressed the petal but nothing happened, I took part of the turn and then I was in the air and so was the ATV. I thought that was it, I looked back towards the house and I was feeling happy, I had a good life, I had people that loved me, I wasn’t afraid, and then everything started going black as I hit the ground. All the sudden I could see the ATV still rotating sideways as it was falling on top of me. Everything was really blurry and started getting darker until I saw the bars on the back of the ATV coming straight at my head, I didn’t know if I could move, but it was getting closer and closer, until I felt myself grabbed them and pushed them to the side, by the time it was almost touching me. After lying on the ground for a while I got up and lifted the ATV back so that it was standing on wheels instead of handlebars, and brought it back to the garage. I guess I got another quarter mile.

I am sitting in my firebird formula at the intersection waiting for the light to turn green, when it finally does, there are no cars close, so I let off the brake press the clutch and let that out as I accelerate, the front of the car is through the intersection when I feel the back end start rotating and then I see another car coming at me, I don’t know which way I turned the wheel to get out of the way but I don’t think it even mattered. My car did a complete 360 degree turn in the intersection when the first car hit the rear passenger tire. I got out of the car and I was ok. Half an hour later I was at my senior prom. That’s another quarter mile.

My point is that life is short and might be shorter than you think, and you have to live in the present in that quarter mile you have in front of you right now. If you live in the past, in my case you might not touch an ATV or a car after your friend dies, or after you come really close, but that is the past, you have to let go and get over it. Do what you enjoy and what makes you happy, no matter what.

Getting through my fall session of classes with good grades is living a quarter mile at a time. Thinking only about the future is often overwhelming (all the years I’ll be in college) but more than that, you miss enjoying the present. Goals are great, working to achieve your goal is great, but don’t let it consume you because often when you get there, you realize that all along it wasn’t the end result, it was the road that took you there.

Never take life for granted.