The Hill of Life

I think many people view life as though it’s the single tallest hill of a roller coaster. First you chug along to the top and once you reach the pinnacle or middle-age, you careen down the other side at an exponentially increasing speed, until ultimately…you get the picture.

I think of life as a train track; one with off-shoots sprouting in every direction. Some of those sprouts are open-ended and you wind up sailing right off of them and into the drink, while others are wondrous paths with bends and forks and an occasional bump. Still others leave you feeling nauseous; others thrilled.

The peaks represent high points. Some people checkout while right at the top, while others slip away somewhere in-between or at their lowest. Some of us are saved at the last second from “certain death,” while others are not so lucky.

Though I dislike amusement park rides, I’d rather be on life’s roller coaster and take my chances about when or where it will all be over, and experience whatever I can rather than to sit on the sidelines wishing I’d tried.

I once saw an interview of a woman on the occasion of her 100th birthday. The news reporter asked her, “If you had your life to do all over again, what would you have done differently?”

She paused for a pregnant moment—long enough that it left the viewer and the reporter wondering whether she even grasped the question. She took a breath, leaned into the microphone and replied, “I would have tried more flavors of ice cream.” She was serious about the ice cream, but she stunned me with her metaphorical wisdom. Carpe diem.

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