Go and jump off a bridge.
Every time I hear Kenny Loggins’ song “Danger Zone,” images of Tom Cruise jumping around shirtless in a testosterone-fueled beach volleyball game pop into my mind, along with an adrenaline rush that gets me as jacked for living as the action-packed, relentless adventure that Top Gun depicts.
Tonight, as I sit here at 3:00 a.m. at a job that’s supposed to be “exciting,” I have painfully realized my stimulation threshold has risen dramatically to an near-untouchable level. Working on an ambulance, I am constantly thrown into a plethora of situations and deal with all walks of life—from Joe, the unkempt, urban outdoorsman who drank a few bottles of Listerine and stopped for a nap in the middle of the road, to Bob, the model of an upper crust citizen who had an acute myocardial infarction in his multimillion dollar penthouse after eating too many cheeseburgers.
I deal with it all: gruesome car accidents, childbirth and corpses.
My nervous system is plucked at from all angles, but it has reached a point where numbness is accepted as the status quo.
As I sit here with my feet thrown up on a desk, staring at a full moon, without even a faint notion of tiredness, I realize my all-or-nothing attitude has paradoxically brought me to this state of perpetual dullness. Here in this state, it takes a sledgehammer and a bucket of acid to evoke vigor at times. In grasping this, I recognize that perception in life is everything.
A simple rock can hold eternal spots of fascination and tangible explorations with the fingers to the keen mind. A hammock swaying in the breeze can be examined with joy in noticing every single strand interwoven in a delicate pattern.
Pondering this revelation and understanding that this anesthesia has leaked into all areas of my life, I am drawn to think of what it means to be alive and in wonder. To be curious. To live dangerously and to take risks.
Because what is life without risks? Where is the characterization between highs and lows, and appreciation for the moment? Without taking gambles and leaps of uncertainty, there can be no great gain attained.
Reflecting back on my life, the greatest achievements I’ve had have involved putting in the work with my own two shaking hands, injecting my intuition as guide and using my heart as a roadmap.
I have had the most profound revelations and leaps of insight when I’ve ignored what the general majority may have said, and instead took the plunge all on my own will. I went into these endeavors with the mindset that I’d rather be dead than live my life according to anyone else.
You only have yourself to answer to. At the end of the day, the end of this year, and when your life is drawing to a close—will you be satisfied with your experiences, the answers you sought out for yourself and your mark on this world? Were the paths you chose on the cement road of urbanized majority, or your own trailblazing work of art in the dense jungle?
Everyone’s path is different, and that’s what makes life so heart-achingly, solitarily beautiful. The wonderful marvel is witnessing and partaking in these paths intertwining, and helping each other to realize their potential.
What are you waiting for?
Don’t hold back. Tell that one person you love them, as love is what ultimately keeps us all afloat. Question rules, beliefs and standards set in place and ponder if they coincide with your own internal compass. Talk to strangers. When life’s waters are dealing you a hard blow, swim into the sea to make peace with confusion and the unknown. Celebrate for no reason at all.
Take that blind leap of faith into a new relationship, career or country to live in. If you don’t want to do something, don’t. Show up at an old friend’s doorstep. Do not be afraid to wander aimlessly; it’s okay to not know where you’re going.
Wear ridiculous outfits. Do not be afraid to allow doors to close; new ones will unfold if you have your eyes open. Delve into your body and emotions and become friends with them—tune in to the signals they give you. Stick up for yourself; you are your own captain of respect. Explore diverse foods, culture, music and perspectives. Take up sewing, even if you suck at it. Never limit yourself or doubt your own capabilities or goals. Laugh without inhibition from the depths of your belly. Stretch in public. Live recklessly, but lovingly, carving your own unique footprint into the sands of this world.
Wherever you go, go with your entirety.
Become like Austin Powers, and make Danger your middle name.
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” ~Jim Rohn
“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.” ~Chuck Palahniuk
“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” ~Erica Jong
Veronica Ryl is an extreme adventurist, modern day philosopher and life-lover with a major interest in psychology. She is in the eternal process of defining herself and her beliefs (and is making up the rules as she goes). Her other interests include: traveling, physical fitness, the great outdoors, self expression and venturing outside her comfort zone. Passionate about life experiences and people; she would love to get to know you.
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