Commuting to NY City every day can be a chore but luckily I live within walking distance of the train station. In spite of the fact that I only have a 9 minute walk, I sometimes don’t leave myself enough time. Once again I’m lucky that the train tracks literally run through my back yard, though some would say I’m unlucky (for the record, the noise isn’t bad). If I don’t have enough time to walk the regular route I can navigate my way through the woods and onto an access road that runs directly to the station, parallel to the tracks. That walk is only five minutes.
I haven’t needed to use the access road in a while and venturing up there today I was surprised to see how the weeds have made substantial progress invading the compressed gravel road. I felt I was walking down the street of some long abandoned city. For a moment I was the only person in the world and I saw how things will end, plants will take over.
From a What Next perspective I couldn’t help but think that this road was a metaphor for life. If you just lie there, don’t do anything, you’ll be overrun by weeds. By the time you decide to do something about all the weeds, you’ll work so hard fending off their assault that you won’t have time for progress. Sounds a lot like what I call “coasting” in What Next.
I thought about the weed’s persistence some more (the train ride is pretty boring) and their single minded focus on growth, on spreading wherever they can. If one weed is stopped in one location another will grow nearby, and another near that. The weed doesn’t care how long it takes or how much road it hasn’t yet covered, it just keeps growing and keeps spreading.
So through the weeds, I learned two lessons: either I will be overrun by weeds if I become stagnant, or I can be like the weeds and keep growing no matter what. Weeds taught me the value of persistence and flexibility. If I can’t grow here I’ll try someplace else but I’ll keep growing and moving.