Let’s face it: the more we grow old, the more we become fearful. At one point in our lives, we have decided to slowly build walls and close our doors for self-preservation. It’s not about fun anymore – it’s survival. And out there, things are messy. It’s too risky. Too challenging. Too hard. Too impossible. We drew the line around ourselves and made a box we’re stuck in. We’ve survived, yes; but is that living life to the fullest?
When we were younger, it was easier for us to be reckless. Risks were translated as “fun.” A new adventure. Something untried, but something we’re willing to see. Tumbling around the dirt? Jumping on a trampoline? Getting thrown into the water and see if we’d float? Chasing animals, or getting chased by them? Those were cheap, real-life thrills. Those were the ones we turned our backs on when we decided to live life safe.
But there’s no fun in safe. There’s no living in safe. Safe lets you breathe within the boundaries, but you’re not growing. You’re not expanding. You’re not breaking into new horizons and learning what you could do with your grown-up hands and head. No; you hold things back because you believe there’s something more at stake. Reputation. Pride. Money. Relationships. Your own safety. Things you deem precious.
When was the last time you took a dive into the waters? Took a career leap? Drove without direction? Escaped into a vacation where you inhale fresh air and saw things you’ve never seen before? When was the last time you took a hike into the mountains and gazed at the grand vision of nature from above? When was the last time you invested on something you have always loved?
If your answer is never, then you’re doing it wrong.
In Yes Man! Jim Carrey’s Carl Allen slapped us with a whole bunch of truth: grown-ups are naturally nay-sayers. After being scathed by criticism, hurt by a breakup and failing expectations, we withdraw back inside our shells to sulk at our mistakes. It’s not fun. And then, there are also the observers; those who watch people from the sidelines, laughing at their misgivings, scorning their failures, but never moving a finger to face the challenge or make that change. No is the safe answer. No, you may think, is the better answer.
But No is also shaking your head when life offers you an opportunity. An opportunity to grow, to feel, to learn what else is out there. Our self-preservation holds us back from our self-growth, and this is not what life is all about. Admit it – you feel constricted, crammed inside the small box you imprisoned yourself with.
Don’t let life pass you by. Take those risks! Grab those chances! Seize the moment! Dance in the rain, sing your heart out in public, write that novel or start a new career! So, what if you failed? What if you lost? What if you had a bad experience? Life isn't all about winning. It's about growing. It's about pushing yourself against the wall and breaking it. It’s all about thriving.
You see, living is being alive. Real joy comes when you count the scars you’ve survived, the risks you were able to take, and the journey of genuine fun and thrill you were able to say Yes! to.
Take heart, and take that leap. You’ll be all the better for it.