Vividly, I recall my 8-year-old self standing on the roof of my then-best friend’s house. It was just a single-story home, but I was standing on the edge of the fucking roof. I felt brave alright?!
Ahem, SO, logic had persuaded me that the side of the house was ideal because my adidas-encased feet would meet gravel, not pavement or rhododendron bushes.
Erin was blasting Dookie as she jeered me to jump before her Dad came outside to check on us. As a means to provoke myself I ran every 90’s idiom, quote, and slogan through my head:
- “Just Do It!”
- “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
- “No Fear.”
The one that did it was some Aladdin song, you know the one where he’s running away from the guards after he jacked a loaf of bread? “All you gotta do is JUMP!”
I sprang as far away from the house as my Gumby frog legs could launch me, holding my arms out as though I had finally turned into a bird. My bird/frog self remained suspended in the air for as long as a wait at the California DMV, and it was only then that I truly realized the gravity of what I had just done.
See what I did there? Gravity as in seriousness, but then also gravity as in the force of attraction by which terrestrial bodies tend to fall toward the center of the earth? THAT WAS SO ACCIDENTALLY CLEVER I CAN’T STAND IT.
Anyway, 7 years later, I landed on my feet and didn’t disintegrate into a pile of broken bones. Cheering, my buddy ran over and hugged me for my valiant behavior, an equal blend of bravery and sheer stupidity. We jumped (yeah, I could still jump) up and down screaming elated on endorphins, then debated on what to do next.
“Let’s go get the BB gun!” she decided excitedly.
“No, I don’t want to shoot at animals!” I rejected defiantly. Any badge of toughness I had just won was swiftly stripped away.
“OK you big baby, we’ll just shoot at cans,” she sighed and took off running toward the shed. I ran after her and spent the remainder of the afternoon practicing my shot. But my shot is absolutely terrible and I ended up accidentally shooting a squirrel anyway.
Da Fuq Does That Have to Do With Anything?
I swear I have a point. Well maybe I don’t but you’ve made it this far so you might as well find out.
Today I’m not standing on top of actual roofs egging myself to jump (most days…although recently I may or may not have climbed a tree at an amphitheater and perhaps might have jumped out of it prematurely and could have possibly been dragged to a medic because there’s a chance I might have been bleeding everywhere…maybe), but I am constantly standing on the edge of something, looking for new opportunities and adventures. There’s something important about forcing yourself to do new things even, and especially, if it’s scary as shit. It’s probably just acute ADD, but it’s there and it is.
Because honestly, it’s downright crazy not to take risks. Sometimes we stumble into situations and things end up pretty alright. The bills get paid, the town is pleasant enough, your job isn’t kill-self worthy, the person you spend your time contents you to some degree. It’s great and all that we’ve made it this far, but even if you’ve built your life into something, and that something is nice, is that something really the something that you were built for?
Perhaps there is something nagging. Something that you’ve always wanted to do or be or try and just haven’t been able to take the leap for one reason or another.
Personally, I’m not nearly as brave as I want to be. I try, but there’s more to do. And that kills me because there are so many things I crave doing and seeing and exploring. There are so many things I want to tell you but I’m scared to death of what will happen when I finally start to tell the real stories that created this monster who writes to you with such profane language.
We shouldn’t live this way. Why can’t any of us just get on a plane and say, “fuggetaboutit” and travel alone? There’s no real reason not to – unless you’re a convicted felon, in which case you’re stuck here, but you can always go to Kansas. I hear they have corn mazes.
Or open up to people for real? The worst that could happen is a few tears. Or quit your job and become that street performer you’ve always wanted to be? Sword juggling is coming back, I swear.
All that aside, this word vomiting is happening because I hear a lot of your explicit or implicit cries for something more. I see something special in a lot of the people I meet, and become frustrated when they don’t let those sparkling talents that are so clear to the rest of us become realized. I might not know you, but I know you weren’t built for just existing. Sedation. This is the easiest generation to numb ourselves into contentment, to sit back and let these passions die with age and security. It’s not just you, I look at myself all the time and realize I’m not pushing hard enough either.
So, maybe today is the day to take that leap. I know this is hopelessly optimistic, boundlessly foolish, and so hippie I would be kicked out of Woodstock for going “too far out maaaan.” But who gives a shit, that’s better than just floating along. Today’s a great day, in this wonderful summer we’re having, to sharply steer away from the path paved with fear and bound for mediocre security, and onto the one cobbled with unknown adventure and headed toward unparalleled fulfillment and passion.
I mean, yeah, there’s a chance you may fail. But my god — what if you succeed?*
*I totally jacked this from a quote somewhere. I don’t know where but it seemed to fit so I’m using it anyway.
**Okay I found it. I pinned it on my Pinterest board. There’s no author. I’d put a link to it but that just seems like a tacky way to get you to look at my Pinterest.
***Meh, screw it, I’m a blogger and all we do is shameful social sharing. That’s probably how you got here anyway. Here’s where I got that idea.
****Okay now go get out there, change the world, and try not to pelt a squirrel with a bb gun.