Fearless? Not hardly…

If you have friends like I do, almost every one of them Facebook posts a saying or a phrase or a motto to be inspirational.  Some do it all the time, while others it is rare.  Quite honestly, most times I just glance over them in the morning.  Sometimes there will be an eye roll or a nose flare, now and then I might read one twice or even more rarely, I will share it.

But then there are those once in a blue moon occasions where I will read one and it just resonates inside you, like a big church bell ringing.  Today was one of those days, when I read this

 image

 

First off, I am not sure I will be around to look back in 50 years.  If I am, I will be closing in on 100 years old, and that could be pushing it a might.

But that is NOT the important part of this.

It’s the lack of regret part. 

Now there are things I am sorry about.  Never having made it to the top of Mt Rainier would be the top of my list. 

taking off

I tried 4 times; 4 times it did not happen.  But it was not due to having “the guts” to do it.  The body just doesn’t function above 12000 feet.  One time is a fluke, 4 is rule.  It just aint going to happen. 

There are also things I thought I’d want to do, but then thought better.  A marathon for example.  I ran a half, on my way to a full.  When I crossed the finish line,

I ran well enough to complete my one and only Half a thon, 13.1 miles in just over 2 hours!

I ran well enough to complete my one and only Half a thon, 13.1 miles in just over 2 hours!

my first thought was “Oh HELL no, that was not fun, I will NOT be doing 26 miles!”  I of course figured, as with mountains, that as time went on I would forget the bad, focus on the good and change my mind.  Didn’t happen…  Running that far is just not enjoyable enough to put in the effort.  Scratch that from the list, no regrets.

When I look back on my endeavors and accomplishments, I do so knowing that I either HAD no fear, or overcame it.

When Dave and I went skydiving, I stepped (ok maybe fell) out of the plane without a moment’s hesitation.  Maybe it was the ritual at the door, or maybe I am just not that smart, but I was good to go from the beginning

I really shouldn't have been upside down here!

I really shouldn’t have been upside down here!

till the landing!

But I stuck the landing!

But I stuck the landing!

I don’t want to leave you with the impression I have NEVER been scared… Jimmy Buffett has a song “God’s Own Drunk (And I’m a fearless man).”  We, Dave Scot and I, call this the Rambo illusion, when you have had enough to drink that you feel bullet proof.  Scary enough, this is also the point when you think:

  • You can dance
  • You can sing
  • That the good looking server really IS into you…

 

No, there are times I have been.  When I have thought, “OK, do I REALLY want to do this.”  Case in point, bungee jumping. 

My second time jumping, I was very excited to go.  Clear up and until the time I was at the edge of the platform looking down at the river below me.  I froze.  I am not ashamed to say it.  My mind was ready, but the body said “HELL NO!”

The jump master told me to look forward, check out the mountains in the distance.  OK now raise your hands, and when you are ready go for it.  I overcame the fear!  I jumped, hit the water as planned and hooped and hollered the whole time.

And that ladies and gents is why this resonated.  To have the “guts” to do something is not to be without fear.  It’s using your brain to weigh the dangers vs fun, the chance of injury vs the adrenalin rush, the joy of success vs regret, and, when the decision is made, go for it.

I remember a part of Stephen Kings “The Stand”.  Harold Lauder was an out of shape teenager with no friends.  He told a story about a hill kids would climb and jump down to the sand below.  Everyone made the jump, it was a right of passage.  Everyone but him.  He lamented that one instance, not having the guts, filled him with regret, shame and anger.  He was never the same.  (I am happy to say that BEFORE I read this book, I did my own real life jump at Sand Canyon)

Yes, I know this is fiction, and there is no “Walking Dude” or “Mother Abigale” running around.  But I decided after reading this I would do everything I could not to feel that way.  To date I have done a pretty good job!

So I will leave you with this.  Don’t be stupid and do something that will kill you (jumping out of a car going 50 MPH for example) , is illegal (robbing a bank) or bad for you (drugs for example).  But if there is a physical endeavor you want to do, but are afraid, get a friend to join you, or whatever else it takes to get you to try.  Because, screw 50 years from now.  I don’t want you looking back next year and knowing you didn’t try because you were scared.  You can do it!

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5 Responses to Fearless? Not hardly…

  1. The professor just doesn’t think he’s built for it.

  2. Hey Tony, this really struck a chord with me as well. Hope to pursue as many crazy adventures as possible (within moral and legal confines, of course) and look back without regrets. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Michelle I just wish I would’ve done it more in and fresh out of college. I didn’t start till later, and I wonder what I missed sometimes. Since then nuthin stops me :).

      Go like the wind lady! I am glad you liked it, and I am even happier someone gets it like I do!

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