“No man ever steps in the same river twice,
For it’s not the same river
And he’s not the same man.”
I often think about my life, the choices I have made and the paths I took. Today I wanted to just relay a short thought that I have been kicking around in my head for the past couple months.
I often go hiking with my friend Nelson*. Nelson and I have hiked many different trails around Oahu, but one of our favorite trails is Mariner’s Ridge. Over the years, I have taken my little brother, friends and random craig’s list people on the hike – and we have watched what has happened to the trail over the years from people hiking, wind, rain and general erosion.
* Not his real name
When we first hiked the trail:
- The dirt path was about 3 feet wide.
- The pine forest floor was a bed of dead pine needles on a layer of dirt
- We were exhausted, and took a break at a milestone about halfway up that we dubbed “the big rock”
- Up the side of the mountain, just before the top, we saw dirt and more dirt
After a few months when we hiked the trail:
- The dirt path had eroded a little, rocks had begun to show, and the terrain was slightly more difficult.
- The pine forest floor had little rocks and pebbles in the bed of dead pine needles
- We took a break at “the big rock” out of habit
- Up the side of the mountain, just before the top, little plants were growing
Still more months have passed, and the latest I have seen on the trail:
- The dirt path is eroded to the point where it is a 2-3 feet deep trough in parts, and there are rocks everywhere.
- The pine forest floor has lost the dirt layer, and it is mostly dead pine needles on rocks
- “The big rock” is just a waypoint on our way to the top
- Up the side of the mountain, just before the top, is completely covered in greenery
Every day we have the opportunity to do anything we want. If I see a chance or a path in front of me, I can choose to grab it and take advantage of that moment – or I can choose not to. Any day I choose not to however, I will lose that chance forever. The trails and chances in front of us are forever living, forever changing, and if I am not there on that day, I will never see the uniqueness of the trail on that single day – ever.
There is no second chance. There are many near second chances, but each moment is with us once, never to return again. Waiting for tomorrow may be better, it may be worse – it will always be different. The world, you, and your life will be different.
The path you see before you today, the hand outstretched, the door open to opportunity – it is only available to you for a brief instant, and it will not wait or remain unchanged forever. Hours, days, weeks, months and years will transform everything. Each moment I have is special, and I am fortunate for every experience that comes my way. The path available to us today may be gone tomorrow – and conversely, the door that is closed today may suddenly swing open when we least expect it.
Our friends and family will grow older, we will grow closer to some people and further from others – and the things that seemed like they would never change will inevitably change.
The trail waits for noone. If I hike it tomorrow, it will be different again – and so will I.
If you are you ready to take advantage of opportunities today, and want to make the most out of your life before it passes you by, take a moment to read the details about my course The Action Solution and see if it’s something you’d be interested in.
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