Monday, July 17, 2017

Turning On A Dime

As I found myself pondering how quickly life can change, I looked up the expression "turn on a dime." From the idea of a car being able to turn, quickly and accurately, on something as small as a tiny dime, the expression, I found out, is usually used to describe the capability rather than any actual action. I'm not actually so sure about that part--in my life alone, the announcement of the cancellation of One Life to Live wasn't just ABLE to happen quickly, it actually DID happen. My quick, and sometimes out of the blue shifts from unemployment to a new gig--and back to unemployment again--weren't just ABLE to happen, they actually DID happen. Changes in my friends' lives weren't just ABLE to happen, they happened. And so, because things actually do "turn on a dime," we, like quick-reacting cars, learn to turn the wheel, put all our energy into the turn, and change course, just when we might think we are destined to continue in a straight line.

So, what does this "turning on a dime" do for us, other than putting stress on our "wheels" and the rest of our bodies? It reminds us of the (perhaps not often used) capabilities that we possess. It opens us to new paths and opportunities that we would likely not have explored if not forced to. 

When we say that a car can "turn on a dime," we are appreciating its useful feature. Shouldn't we, then, appreciate our own abilities to do so, even if the world's ability to turn quickly can sometimes put us off balance? Sure, the world seems to spin us around like an unexpected u-turn, but shouldn't we celebrate our ability to right ourselves, rather than be buried in the difficulty of change?

Our lives can turn on a dime, it is true. Prosperity and security one day can turn to unemployment and uncertainty the next. But if we can view these changes as we do the origin of the expression that describes them, we can begin to see the advantages they give us. Who wouldn't want a car that can "turn on a dime?" If that is the case, we may as well celebrate when we learn to do the same.

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