Is it possible for one to get ahead of themselves? How does it happen? There are a number of ways but i’ll get to that later, for now i have to tell you a little story. This past weekend, it was Saturday i think, i had just come out of the bathroom and was back in my room when i looked out the open window and saw an endearing sight. There was a boy of about 12-14 yrs old who was teaching his little brother how to ride a bike. He held the handles and guided little brother as little brother also held tightly on, his little hands clenched tightly around the handles. I looked intently to witness for myself the dedicated efforts the young man was putting in, teaching his most eager brother the way to ride a bicycle. I was looking down through the open shutters, breath held and careful not to make any sound that would disrupt the ritual taking place down below and also feeling that i needed to just see for myself instead of making a sound that would break the little boy’s concentration.
So i looked on as big brother kept repeating the rules, “right foot first, put both feet on the pedals, keep…keep peddling, look where you are going…” After a few steps, he let his little brother at it and little brother peddled away determinedly without missing a beat. On and on he went like they do on the tracks, all speed, no caution, oblivious of danger, on and on he peddled. When he wanted to turn and head back, it was hard because he could not yet coordinate his motor reflexes, so i watched him fall a couple of times-they were not great falls and he wouldn’t let go of the handle, noooo…man- nimble fellow that he was, he just you know, needed to learn how to balance on the bike. I continued watching, the brave little fellow would rise up from a fall and mechanically get back in the saddle and resume the exercise. There is an elderly lady that lives across from us and the moment she heard the commotion outside, she opened her door and came out, leaning on the rail. She at once developed a keen interest in what was going on and urged him on, promising him a dollar if he could ride to the end of the driveway, a distance of some 20-30 feet and turn around without falling off the bike. I must say the scene was oddly touching, witnessing the passing on of knowledge and experience; just watching all this took me back to my boyhood days, remembering my own experience, and i laughed, a stifled, small laugh. I laughed some more when i realized the reason i laughed at first: i had laughed at him because i thought his actions were puny, and in my heart i think i mocked him for that. I laughed some more when he fell. The things of men! You got to crawl before you can run. After that, i watched a little more and he seemed to be getting the drill of it (as though he knew he was being laughed at) As he went on, he fell less often, staying longer on his runs up and down the driveway. Soon i lost interest in the show but it was an eye-opener. Here was a young man learning something most boys are so keen about; the independent operation of machinery, any machinery.
As they say, boys will be boys, progress was made after all and our good man soon got the hang of it and is now a certified cyclist although i can’t put money on it until i see him doing his thing on the road, besides the steady hum of motorcars and the hustle and bustle of human traffic. When i see that, i might congratulate the dude for putting on a brave face (when his heart was in his mouth, that time) and for hanging in there. Alright, now to the meat of this, what do folks mean when they say; “don’t get ahead of yourself?” They mean don’t put the cart before the horse, follow the prescribed way to your destination. Here is a current definition of the phrase from thefreedictionary.com:
“Fig. [for someone] to do or say something sooner than it ought to be done so that the proper explanation or preparations have not been made”
The little boy’s experience taught me something: to listen to the voice speaking to me and to follow orders. It also taught me the value of perseverance while learning something challenging, something real, something mighty, but most importantly, that one must keep going despite the bruised knees and scraped elbows. A lot of times we quit because something is not coming soon enough. Other times because we think it’s too much of a bother and we are too impatient to get through with it and so we give up. Don’t give up, keep going.
Are you getting ahead of yourself and does it make you feel bad that you let yourself get ahead of yourself? I have got ahead of myself, at my workplace, with colleagues, with girlfriends and even with my boss. Sometimes the culprit has been coffee, so i don’t do coffee anymore, mostly because it alters my mood and makes me want to go ahead of myself. Do not say i told you not to be on top of things, it also does not pay to be behind times. G’day to you.