I recently came to the realization that my driving habits more closely resemble those of my late parents, rather than my own children. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Thinking about it, I have realized that I am a safer driver now than I ever was in my youth. But I suppose I am safer in just about every area of my life. Care to know why? The explanation is pretty simple.
Before I get to it, I should point out that I am a very injury prone person. Even now, in my late 50s, I have an inexplicable knack for injuring myself without even knowing it. I will look down and see a serious gash on my leg and have no idea how it got there. So imagine what life must have been like during the reckless years of my youth. It was interesting.
I’ve Seen a Lot of Things
I am much more likely to adopt a safety-first mindset these days. There are a number of reasons why, beginning with the fact that I have seen a lot of things in nearly six decades of life. I have seen a guy nearly burn down a forest by playing with gasoline too close to a fire. I have seen terrible traffic accidents caused by people not paying attention.
The more you see, the more you understand just how easy it is to be unsafe. You also see how easy it is to seriously hurt yourself. And unfortunately, I cannot unsee some of the more gruesome things I have witnessed over the years.
I Stopped Being Lazy Years Ago
Many of the insanely unsafe things I did in my youth were not a matter of purposely taking risks or being adventurous. They were a matter of my own laziness. For example, I remember carrying a gas grill in the back of my pickup truck without securing it. A couple of bungie cords or ropes would have done the trick, but I was too lazy to go get them.
On a similar note, I recently saw two young people driving down the road with a mattress on the top of the car. A couple of Rollercam tie downs would have secured the mattress safely. But no, these two were holding the mattress down with their hands. Simply amazing.
With Age Comes Wisdom
My grandparents used to tell me something I couldn’t possibly have understood in my 20s. Here it is – with age comes wisdom. If you are still fairly young, you probably don’t understand just how profound this particular truth is. But you someday will.
Wisdom is the ability to skillfully use the knowledge you possess. Strangely, there are a lot of people with tons of knowledge but no wisdom. Nonetheless, age tends to increase wisdom because you see and experience the consequences of how you use knowledge. That is certainly the case with me.
I had a working knowledge of physics when I graduated high school. Over the next two decades, I selectively chose to use or ignore that knowledge on a case-by-case knowledge. But these days, I have experienced enough negative consequences to no longer ignore what I know. Wisdom has taken over.
I can say that I am a safer person in my late 50s than I ever was in my 20s. I’ve seen a lot of terrible things. I’ve stopped being lazy. But most importantly, I have allowed wisdom to take its rightful place. I wish I could have said that 30 years ago. Things would have been different