Crash, Boom. Those were the noises we heard. My wife and I were pushing our 15-month-old in a stroller up the street to a playground in the Chatswood neighborhood of Sydney. A small SUV hopped the curb a block away and was coming straight toward us on the sidewalk. Our first impulse was to back up but the car soon flipped to its side and started skidding more rapidly in our direction. My impulse was to grab the stroller, my wife had the same idea. We both went for it and our coffees flew in the air. We picked up the stroller and lifted it into the street away from the oncoming car. It slowed and came to a stop less than two meters away from us. We quickly moved backward, back toward the cafe we’d just gotten coffee from and found seats at an outside table. We were trembling. I noticed people racing to the car to check on the driver, people also were running to a pedestrian who was lying on the sidewalk 25 meters from where we were standing as this accident unfolded. People were shouting to call emergency but I was in Australia and didn’t even know the emergency number, “it’s not 911” I thought. I looked at my kid, he was crying. I saw coffee had spilled on his shirt, we picked him up and checked his shirt. He was not burned by the coffee; my wife and I both had flat whites so there was a lot of milk in them and maybe that helped cool them a bit. I hear sirens; the ambulances came, the police cars came and my wife and I hugged each other and our little one. My wife noticed that her knee hurt (she twisted it while trying to move the stroller out of the way) but that was the extent of our injuries. I gave a report to the police on what happened. My wife decided she was OK and just wanted to go back to the hotel. We put our son back in the stroller and calmly walked past the wreckage, back to our hotel. It was only our second day in Australia.
We’ve been home for a while now. I hesitated to write about this incident; I thought I would just talk about all the wonderful things we did on that trip, but I think I would be remised if I didn’t mention it. This incident shook me. It caused me to think about my own mortality, about how precious our time on this earth can be. Thirty seconds, I keep thinking, if we had gotten our coffee thirty seconds earlier how much farther up that street would we have been? The woman who was hit by that car did not survive; I ache for her family, her friends and for her. She was simply walking up the street, the same path we were going to take.There was a moment on that Friday afternoon that I thought I do not want to leave this hotel again. I want to keep my wife and my kid in our room and order room service for the next three weeks. That was fear and, quite frankly, I think it was understandable. As I thought about it, I thought, yes we are all here for a limited time and we don’t necessarily know when that time will be up. Every day we all take a path. It may be familiar, it may be new and exciting but on that
There was a moment on that Friday afternoon that I thought “I do not want to leave this hotel again.” I want to keep my wife and my kid in our room and order room service for the next three weeks. That was fear and, quite frankly, I think it was understandable. As I thought about it, I thought, yes we are all here for a limited time and we don’t necessarily know when that time will be up. Every day we all take a path. It may be familiar, it may be new and exciting but on that path, we can make the choice to embrace our lives. Embrace the moment.
This is not easy for me, it has never been easy for me to let go and enjoy the moment but during my time in Australia, I tried my best. I worked to let go of my ego and really focus on ways I can improve my craft as an actor. I’ve walked along cliffs overlooking the mighty south pacific and relished the wonder of nature, and I’ve stopped and just listened to my wife and my child as they laughed playing upsy daisy. These are moments, moments that matter, moments that can only exist when we allow ourselves to be in them.
As you start your path today, remember to not let the trivial mundane crap get in your way. Find the time to stop, breathe and embrace the moment.