Week 4 - Life is an Impromptu


“You die in the improv set 5 times out of 9. When you get over your fear of dying, nothing really scares you anymore.”

— Bill Murray


One of the first times I realize I belonged in a city was when I saw how people drive here in Boston. It’s some of the funniest stuff to watch. There’s obvious traffic yet some guy thinks traffic doesn’t apply to him so he take’s to the bike line and forces his car further up the line where people have to let him in, all while three other cars follow his lead. 


There are no lanes here. There may be white lines on the road, but they're only a suggestion. So yes, it’s basically how I drive in Athens. I love drivers that constantly process the situation they are in and then pull something ridiculous to go around everyone. This might anger most people, but I usually applaud it. Now you see why Boston traffic is so entertaining to me. 


Driving is a great example of making it up as you go. It’s actually a great picture of life, think about it. The different types of cars, the different speeds, how people choose to navigate, and which roads to take. You can tell a lot about a person’s personality by how they drive. Do they get impatient easily? Do they sit in traffic or are they constantly looking for alternative routes? How fast do they drive? Do they listen to podcasts, music, or just enjoy the ride?


Life is about making it up as you go. You aren’t given a path-by-path manual when you are born. “Choose option B to have this career”. “Choose option A to marry this type of person”. There’s no formula. It’s like being on stage and having to impromptu everything. 


Think about the best conversations you’ve had. You didn’t bring notes to it (hopefully). You didn’t tell the other person how to respond. You just converced. The most beneficial college courses aren’t the ones where the professor regurgitates his lecture from last semester, it’s the one with class discussion, personal stories, and navigating through the hard questions. This is what it’s like to live by a compass rather than a map. 


One way to live like this is to always choose the harder option (which is usually better one in the long run) and just adapt as you go.  If everything in your life right now is safe, you’re probably not doing all that you could be doing. It’s when you’re pushing yourself to discomfort that you grow. Here’s a good article that explains this better than I can.


Boston update: Exactly 2 weeks left before Orlando as of today, so it’s crunch time up here!