Life Is A Six-Speed Manual.

I’ve been pondering lately how life is like a transmission.  First gear (when you’re born) is starting to move, and requires the greatest learning curve.  It is where acceleration, over time, is never faster.  You must learn at least two languages–one spoken, the other with numbers.  You must learn to feed yourself, walk, speak.  You must learn to coexist with others in social settings.  You must learn to navigate a large and extremely complex series of emotions, and apply them at the very least to your relationships with your parents and siblings.  The amount of information to take in at this stage of your life is staggering.

Second gear covers your teenage years and your twenties.  You’re running at 5,000 RPM, picking up speed, going to school, getting your life moving.  You move out of the house, go to college.  Pay your own bills.  Repair your credit.  Buy your own car.  Get a dog.  You’re busting your ass to become independent, get a career on track, plan for a spouse and family.  Putting out near-maximum effort just to get ahead.

Third gear is to second gear what your 30s are to your 20s.  If your transmission is geared to get comfortable around this time, you are finally enjoying the fact that many who first meet you don’t immediately assume that you are inept because you are so young.  You are not so new to the work force that your experience actually counts for something.  If your transmission is geared for massive acceleration, you are still clawing for every extra MPH you can get, constantly trying to get ahead to sixth gear in as little time as possible.

Fourth and fifth gears are effectively purposed the same as third gear is–forever accelerating, forever working toward the ultimate goal of getting comfortable.  The thing about everything after second gear is that there are times when you are working, working, working, until you can work no harder–and only when you have enough speed and momentum to jump up to the next gear can your engine (for a short time) drop its RPMs, and doesn’t have to work so hard.  Then, something new comes along (a kid, a mortgage payment, a lawsuit), and once again you are forced to work harder, to put out more power, to put on more speed.  Some people spend a long, long time running at the top of their current gear’s limits before being able to breathe a little easier in the next step up.

This is why everyone is envious of those who are the wealthiest people in this country:  They are cruising along in sixth gear–typically the Overdrive gear–and they are comfortably doing 90 or 100 miles an hour while their engines loaf along at 2,500 RPM, sipping gas and barely breaking a sweat.  Everyone else is mired in the middle gears while these people are at the pinnacle of financial freedom, and in many cases, the higher up they go, the less actual work they must do to stay there.  Also, nothing makes people envious more than when people in their 20s and 30s find ways to either run through the gears quickly, or skip to sixth all together.

I suppose if life is a six-speed manual, people must be engines then–it would explain why some move slowly, and others light fires behind the tires at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Right now, I’m one of these:  

Soon, I’ll be one of these: 

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: