When Karl Friedrich Mercedes applied for a patent for the world’s first automobile in 1886, he was forty-two years old.
It was against the law to drive a car at that time. He needed a letter from the King to drive his own invention. And there were no roads, no gas stations, no all-night drives to liquor stores.
He should have waited.
He knew he was onto the fourth box of his life. How many more he would be handed out? Who knew?
Let’s say you are going to live for 100 years and each decade is represented by a box, then your whole life is just 10 boxes.
If you look at your life this way it is very easy to see, that the first three boxes of your life are gone learning to walk, talk, getting educated and landing a job.
The last two are write-off too; because you are learning to walk and talk once again perhaps struggling to remember where you left your glasses or whether you had your lunch or not.
The only boxes when you have the possibility to do anything worthwhile with your life are the five in the middle.
Even out of those, three are taken up to raise children, building a career, maintaining a social life and building a nest of eggs.
That leaves you just two boxes when you have the chance to do what you really want to do. That too if you are aware of it. Most of the people think that their sixties and seventies are to hang their boots and live a leisurely life.
Karl Mercedes knew how little time he had to turn his dreams into reality.
Although his car was nothing more than a three-wheeled bicycle running with a motor, Benz began to sell it from the late summer of 1888, making it the first commercially available automobile in history.
Rather than planning and using those golden decades of their lives, most people just squander those away thinking what could be done in mere two decades.
Karl Mercedes spent next two decades perfecting his design. In 1909, his car, Blitzen Benz set a record of 226.91 km/h (141.94 mph) and was said to be “faster than any plane, train, or automobile” at the time.
Two decades is a long time if you are serious about following your passion. A degree in Medicine only takes seven years to complete, Economics just four, Law only three. With concentrated effort, a book can be written within a year. You can write twenty in two decades if you want to.
Even if you had no control over eight boxes of your life, if you want, you can control your sixties and seventies.
Make these two decades count, and your life will be worth remembering.