I am constantly inches away from death. We all are.
It is astounding how an incident can be so fleeting, yet put things into perspective so easily.
We do not even fully comprehend how lucky we are when a bike or vespa or car narrowly misses us. We do not come to terms with the fact that it could have been fatal nor do we stop and appreciate walking away without a scratch.
One night, I was biking back from class and got into an accident. The mix of traffic and cyclists and tourists in Amsterdam is chaotic enough in the daytime, but gets even worse after the sun goes down. Worst of all are the tourists, especially the ones who forget that the red bike lane should never be set foot on.
One of these unsuspecting tourists was the victim of my accident. Luckily, I was cycling slowly and I was fully aware of the tourist, so although I fell off my bike and walked away with a bruised knee, the tourist was perfectly fine. After exchanging a few friendly words we both walked our separate ways. Although it was a very minor accident, it did have a strong impact on me.
It made me realise how everything we are and everything we know can be gone in the blink of an eye. I realised how much we take for granted every single day, and how many times I hear myself say: “I’ll just do it tomorrow,” when tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. My minor accident could easily have been not-so-minor, if I was biking only a little faster, or if I’d hit a child, or, or, or. The possibilities are endless.
Why should we postpone life when today is the only thing we have for certain?
Do your homework. Read that book. Ask that person out. Treat yourself to Mexican food.
By Nafisa Lestariputri Tschannen
Did you have an eye opening experience since you arrived in Amsterdam?