There is definitely something to be said about experience.  The more experience you have the better you are prepared for the unimaginable.

The other day, I went for my regular run.  I usually run for about an hour up and down hills. The main hill I run has a long, even incline that takes a good solid 10-15 minutes to get to the top.  I’ve been running it for years.

Next to me at the base of the hill was a much younger girl.  She had music blaring in her ears as she ran on the tips of her toes.  We both needed to stop at the base as there was a red stop light. Once the light turned green, it was as though we were racing to get to the top.  She bolted out of the gate determined to beat me.  I had the one thing she didn’t have, experience.  Although, she had the one thing I didn’t have, youth.

As a completely non-competitive person, I let her run as fast as she could. I already knew she didn’t have the skill or the wind to get to the top of the hill without pacing herself. I just kept to my controlled pace and eventually caught up to her.

She was bent over, with her hands resting on her knees, trying to catch her breath.  Once she saw me getting closer, she bolted up the hill again.  However, I knew she didn’t have enough steam to get to the top, because it curves slightly to the right with a sharp ledge to hurtle.  That’s where she was going to blow a tire.

I stuck to my even pace and watched her strain.  It was just a matter of time, when I passed her.  As predicted, she was gasping for air while walking the short right curve at the top.   As I passed her, I asked if she was ok.  She said, “Ya, I’m good.”  I smiled and said, “You can do it.  Just pace yourself next time.”  She thanked me.

Although, there might have been 30 years difference in our age, my experience proved more valuable than her youthful legs.  Although, had I been wearing her super short shorts, my experience and age would have shown more in my not so flattering legs.  Thank God for Nike ultra-fit super-duper stretch tights!

After this experience, I read a profound quote by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger which made a lot of sense to me.  Just to remind you of who Captain Sully is, on January 15, 2009, he made an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River after his plane; US Airways Flight 1549 struck a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survived the harrowing ordeal.

After this enormous event, he said, “One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I’ve been making small regular deposits in this bank of experience, education and training.  And on January 15th, the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.” – Capt. Sully

I thought about this statement.  I thought about it for a few days.  Perhaps the more you invest in your knowledge, ability, and experience, the more you can depend on yourself. You can be your own expert based on your own personal investment.

But…it’s more than that.  Everything he did and knew and experienced came down to the last 2 ½ minutes of his 42-year history of flight.  Some would say he has, “The Right Stuff”.  I would definitely agree with that statement.

I think you can apply this quote and theory to many more ideas and subjects.  Perhaps you can apply it to friendships and relationships.  The more you invest in them, the more you can rely on them.  The more you invest in love, the more you can depend on it.

Getting back to experience, perhaps the more you know how to do something; the more reliable you are at doing it.

I suppose I must continue to run up the hill at a controlled pace in order to get to the very top without running out of breath.  I will need to do this often enough to be able to maintain a successful pace too.  I will continue to teach those newbies on the foothills to pace before venturing up, for investing in their success will help share the succession of the hill.

I’m sure investing in valuable experiences may one day yield a great investment and if needed, a big withdrawal.  You never know when it might be needed!

-This was written in tribute to a real Super Hero, Captian Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

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