I had just turned fifteen when the October Crisis was at its peak. In those days in Canada, I didn’t follow the news very carefully. But Prime Minister Trudeau had recently installed martial law following the kidnapping of two dignitaries. Trudeau’s response to a question on the TV news about how far he was willing to go in suspending civil rights hooked me, is the traceable starting point to a lifelong passion in public affairs.
Just watch me, Trudeau said.
That phrase returns to me often. In Trudeau’s case, he believed action needed to be taken to restore order. As he said in that interview 44 years ago, “I think the society must take every means at its disposal to defend itself against the emergence of a parallel power which defies the elected power in this country and I think that goes to any distance.”
Just watch me.
We’re obviously talking about vastly different stakes, but when it comes to personal choices we have to take action. In my case, believing that moving to New York City in 1988 was the right thing, even when work and love weren’t anything but sure things. Or, on a different level, going for a run – not a light jog or a walk – but a fast-paced run every other day since I left the hospital thirty-eight years ago after having recovered from serious blood clots to my legs and lung.
Just watch me. The phrase pays for anyone. In a dead-end job, believe in yourself and follow your passion. You’ll get what you want if you keep your eye on your prize.
Whatever it is, don’t settle. Believe it or not, even though on the face of it the stakes are vastly different (martial law or not, lawyer Pierre Laporte was assassinated during the October Crisis; his kidnappers served twenty years to life for the crime), it does, in the end, come down to matters of life and death. Your life … and keeping death at bay.
Next: Running for Your Life: Do Races Matter?