Urban skills

There are no “get out of jail free cards” in life

In the board game Monopoly you can erase all penalties for criminal behavior with a simple card that lets you get out of jail free.

Wouldn’t it be great if real life worked the same way? Every so often as you went about your daily business, you’d get a free pass that you could use right away or save for a dire emergency, and as soon as you showed your pass, your mistakes or bad luck would be erased and you could go about your life as if nothing had happened?

I was prompted to write about this after a friend’s Facebook post that led me to comment, “you have to make your own “get out of jail free cards”. No one hands them out.” And then I stopped and realized the truth in what I had just said.

In life we don’t get a free pass… but if we’re clever and think ahead, we can come up with strategies for handling potentially unpleasant meetings (which is what had prompted the conversation), unfortunate life events (losing a job, having your car break down, inclement weather, or whatever), or whatever other lemons life hands you. It’s not about “making lemonade” as the saying goes, necessarily… it’s about two things: preparing in advance and then having the resiliency, personal strength, and guts to keep going after the shit hits the fan.

As I look back over the past year, that’s something I’ve definitely been learning, and working on improving, for my own life. It doesn’t happen overnight, but slowly and surely I’m getting there. The physical preparedness, I’ve discovered, is almost always easier for me than summoning up the physical strength and mental discipline/courage to deal with situations… but in the end, the goal is for both to become second-nature.

Because in the end, I may only get one chance to get it right.



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