Last Wednesday, a 64 year old man went on a wild rampage in the beautiful area of upstate NY called, the Mohawk Valley. First, he set his apartment ablaze. Then, he took a shotgun and went to a local barber shop in the village of Mohawk (population 2,700) where he killed two, and injured two others. The assailant drove across the Mohawk River, into the village of Herkimer (population 7,700) and killed another two victims at a local oil lube and car wash. (Full story)
I’m originally from the Westchester County area. I grew up in “the hood.” The inner city. My dream was always to move to Upstate NY (although some consider Westchester upstate) which I thought was somewhere around Poughkeepsie. Instead, I met my wife to be, and moved to her town, over 200 miles away in the Herkimer area 30 years ago.
I was city boy turned country boy. I loved the feel of small town USA. The pace was slower. People were friendlier. I never visited Mayberry RFD, though, I could only imagine, Herkimer has the same look and feel where Andy Taylor, Barney, Opie, and Aunt Bee called home.
As I learned the news of the unthinkable event, my first thoughts were with my son and daughter who live in Herkimer. It took a half hour to learn they were both safe. Those were the longest 1,800 seconds of my life.
Then a few days ago, another senseless act of violence. Not more than six miles from my home, a 47 year old mother and her child were accosted and car jacked in the parking lot of the Great Northern Mall. The mother met her fate, and the young girl escaped.
In moments like these we say, “I could never imagine this happening here.” This last week was surreal.
Never before could I relate to the tragic shootings that happen in this country on such a frequent occurrence. Now, in a small way, I understand how these communities are feeling. In no way can I comprehend the grief the victims families are going through. Though, now I feel more connected to these people. My heart goes out to them.
Today, because of these recent events, I’m inclined to re-post (this might be the third time) a blog I wrote following the Aurora tragedy last summer.
Flip The Switch
I never know what I’ll write about until a day or two before I post on Sunday evening. Then, I woke up to the headlines of the Aurora Century 16 shooting on Friday, July 20th, 2012.
At a midnight premier screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” a 24 year old male, dressed like an armed video game character, opened fire emotionless on moviegoers at the sold out Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colorado.
Some of the innocent cinema patrons planned seeing the premier of “The Dark Knight Rises” weeks in advance and already had their tickets in hand. Others rushed in line hours before the 12am showing to ensure a seat. Then, there are those who waited until the last minute, only to discover the motion picture was sold out and they’d have to see Batman another day. I wonder how those people are feeling, knowing they escaped an indescribable tragedy.
“You never know which day will be your last” an Aurora male teenager witness said. A Millennial, with baby son in his lap, and girlfriend by his side, described the horrific scene in movie like fashion, frame by frame. The same day, he flipped the impromptu marriage proposal switch for his son’s Mom who said yes. “Going through 10 minutes of thinking he was dead and I would never see him again, you never want that feeling again,” she said. “Right now find four people and give them the best hug you have” said, another survivor.
As of now, 12 people dead, another 50 injured. Some in critical condition. Our nations prayers are with them all, including families and friends.
A sobering moment, like the one painted on the canvas of Aurora, gives a vivid picture of the fragility of life.
You know that -one thing- you’ve been meaning to finish or start? For some reason, you’ve delayed flipping the switch. You’ve engaged fully in the game of procrastination. The reason could be anything from fear, doubt, too big an ego, not having all the pieces, etc. Or, you simply think, “I have plenty of time. I’ll do it soon.”
Jessica Ghawi, 24, was one of the victims in Aurora, Colorado. She escaped another shooting in Toronto only a few weeks prior. What are the odds of that happening? She blogged about the Canadian incident saying: “Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift.”
As is evident by the aforementioned life events, there are no guarantees in this game called life. You’ve got to live for today.
If you’re great at the game of procrastination, it’s because you’ve programmed your subconscious to delay, put off, and kick the can down the road. You’re a freakin master at it!
You’re probably saying, “OK Steve I get it I get it.What tips can you give me to get off the procrastination merry go round?”
I’m not going to give you any advice. I’m going to ask you a question.
If you wanted to fail miserably at playing the procrastination game, which habits would you put into action to become a master of getting things done?
Your challenge this week is to flip the switch.
Go from master procrastinator to the worst one on the planet.
Then come back and post a comment letting me know how you did it.
Thanks for this reminder. Really helps out when you put things in perspective like this, especially for those of us that are procrastinators.
Thanks Oscar. Unfortunately it takes moments like these to be open to the wake up call.
Come back again.
Unfortunately there have been way to many of such reminders. My mom is sick, and in talking with my parents about what they want to do now that time may be short… their answer was “more of the same.” They love how they spend their days. That is good living.
Sorry to hear about your Mom.
Karin, your parents sounded like mine. They were absolutely in love with each other.
Awesome post, Steve! Thank you. Even those of us who motivate others to movement (speaking for myself) sometimes get caught kicking the can down the road. I appreciate you, and this post. And whoever it was that told you you were a terrible writer… Was wrong.
Have an amazing day.
All of us, at one time or another, put things off.
I appreciate the compliment.
Have a great week my friend.
Oh wow Steve, that’s horrible. I don’t understand what leads people to do such horrible things.
I love this message though and of course one I preach all the time. You know my story, I grew up with a Dad that was unhealthy and I learned to cherish every minute I have. Words don’t go unsaid when you talk to me. We never know when our last day will be.
Thank you for this reminder and I have never looked at myself as a procrastinator although I’m sure there are plenty of areas I can improve.
Thank you though for another wake up call, one I hope people will appreciate.
You’re terrible at procrastination? Adrienne, you’re in an elite club.
I wish it didn’t take unthinkable events to have these reminders.
Thanks for stopping by.
Great post Steve. I didn’t know the guy in Herkimer was 64; I’d thought it was a younger man, so this really did come from nowhere. And the more local story… that one made me so angry but there’s nothing you can do about it.
Life is really about a couple of things isn’t it? One, always be aware, and two, live as much of it as you can, within your comfort level of course. It’s not always the fault of someone who falls victim and we can’t all walk around with guns and bullet proof vests. We can’t give in to fear, but we can be as careful as possible. I feel so bad for what happened in Herkimer and in Clay; we have to take care of ourselves, and others when we can.
I agree. We’ve got to be aware of our surroundings.
There’s so much violence in this country.
Not sure of the solution. Maybe paying more attention to those in our circle, and being aware. If you feel something is off with someone, or just not right, say something.