It had always been a dream of mine to go to Australia.
I decided I would go when I finished university. I was counting the months, and then the weeks, and finally, the days, until uni was over.
I would then be free to live my dream and go to Australia.
There was just one problem…
I was scared shitless.
Scared of going to the other side of the world by myself.
Scared of what people would think if I went.
Scared of what I would do after the year was finished.
My mind got the better of me and I stayed in England. I got a mundane job, and drifted along.
One night, I had a customer placing large bets. He won a large amount of money. I was unable to pay him, as I didn’t have enough money in the shop.
He suddenly became very angry and aggressive, demanding he receive his winnings there and then.
I calmly explained he would have to return tomorrow morning, when I would have the money available for him.
After 20 minutes, he acquiesced and left the shop. I was finally able to head home.
I cycled to and from work. This particular evening, I was already 20 minutes behind my normal schedule. I was keen to get home as quick as possible to watch the football.
On the way home, I was approaching a dangerous road. If you’re heading into town, you carry on straight ahead.
However, there is a junction you can take to go up a hill. If there is nothing approaching from the opposite direction, you can drive straight up the hill without lifting your foot from the accelerator.
As I approached this stretch of road, I noticed a car up ahead. It was moving rapidly. No problem, I thought, it must be going straight on.
I glanced up again, it was a lot closer this time. Only now I realised it was indicating to go up the hill. Surely, they had seen me?
The car hurtled towards me without pause. I could see the car coming closer and closer, it was inevitable.
Luckily, the car narrowly passed me before I slammed into the side of it, as it turned to drive up the hill.
The next few minutes were a daze. I remember looking at my bike, I was surprised it was still in one piece. I was a bit stiff, and one of my fingers was sore, other than that, I was an extremely lucky boy.
I walked the remainder of the way home. I told my parents what happened. They asked me if I was ok. I said I was fine. I had something to eat, and then I went to bed. Ready to get up early in the morning for work.
The next day, something snapped inside me. I realised how lucky I had been. A few seconds earlier, the result may have been drastically different.
It was then I realised I couldn’t postpone my life. If I wanted to do something, I should go and do it. I had been taught a valuable lesson.
Life is fragile.
It may end at any second. It’s too short to be miserable and unfulfilled.
3 months later, I quit my job, and 2 months after that I was in Australia. I spent the following 5 years, living and travelling in various countries around the world.
If the incident with the car had never occurred, I may never have worked up the courage to face my fears and my life the way I wanted.
That incident taught me my greatest lesson.
Life is not a dress rehearsal, if you don’t take action, one day, it will be too late.