To all those who never saw it coming…

car“In the August incident near San Diego, the fiery crash of a 2009 Lexus ES 350 killed California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, 45, and three others on State Route 125 in Santee. The runaway car was traveling at more than 120 mph when it hit a sport utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames. One of the family members called police about a minute before the crash to report the vehicle had no brakes and the accelerator was stuck. The call ended with someone telling people in the car to hold on and pray, followed by a woman’s scream.”
Excepted from Yahoo! News

A handful of lives lost because the gas pedal on a car was stuck down. Sometimes people go out for a drive and don’t come home.

Freight falls out of airplanes onto peoples houses. Scaffolding collapses in cities. Stray bullets hit passerbys, and sometimes, cartels just get the wrong guy. The most dangerous part of flying is the drive to the airport. Unexplained aneurysms strike randomly and kill instantly.

Who could forget those awful Volkswagen commercials where the driver and passenger would be having a grand old time, cajoling one another up front, and then they get T-boned. Thanks to these ads, for a period of time, I was afraid to legitimately enjoy myself while driving.

So what’s the message here? Certainly not to live in fear and give up driving. But simply to realize that human life is fragile, and demise can find you without warning. It’s an excuse to live a little more foolhardily. Bite off more than you can chew. Would you rather sing your swan song trying to escape an avalanche skiing out of bounds, or slip down a flight of stairs in your ski boots and meeting your end at the bottom? Should your last minutes be embraced while skydiving or while crossing the street? It can hit you at anytime.

We often overassess risks because the human/egoic instinct is to survive. Prolong your time on Earth, reproduce, spread your seed. However, the younger you are, the more risks you should be taking. Especially for those under 30, now is the time to take risks and make mistakes. Your body is more resilient and can bounce back from injury. It is the time to make riskier investments, both in yourself and financial markets. Better off losing a big chunk of your retirement savings now then 30 years down the line. Without a family to support and a mortgage payment to meet (kudos if you already own a home), you have a little more leeway to screw up. Mistakes force us to learn, and with big risks come great rewards. If you bet right, the spoils can be immense. Negative outcomes of risks we take aren’t as catastrophic as we think; we always prepare for the worst. And so many actual risks to our lives are outside of our control, worrying about them offers us nothing.

In short, make the most of today, everyday, because you might not be here tomorrow.

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