Thursday, April 7, 2011

Live On the Edge

The world is a pretty incredible place. I've learned so much from my previous travels and current time abroad. I've also learned a lot from places back home in the States, though, too.

One of the most important things I've learned in my life is to live on the edge. Take life for everything it is worth, because it is far too short to do otherwise. When you live life on the edge, you get to suck the very marrow out of its bones. You get to experience things you would never otherwise experience.

Erica Jong wrote, "If you don't risk anything, you risk even more."
In Colossians 3:21 it says, "And whatsoever you do / do it heartily."
Katherine Mansfield said, "How can you hesitate? / Risk! Risk anything! / Care no more for the opinion of others, / for those voices. / Do the hardest thing on earth for you. / Act for yourself. / Face the Truth."
Kim Basinger stated, "When I am old I’m never going to say, 'I didn’t do this,' or, 'I regret that.' I’m going to say, 'I don’t regret a damn thing! I came, I went, and I did it all!'"
Paul Tillich remarked, "He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being."

These people were onto something!

If you want to live fully, you have to do as Frederico Fellini said to live, "You have to live spherically--in many directions."

There have been many times that I've risked things in my life. Big, physical things--like skydiving, rock climbing, bungee jumping, rappelling, ziplining, and parachuting. But I've risked in other ways, too. I've risked changing my major in college. I've risked putting myself out there for others, even if they've rejected me or disliked me or made fun of me. I've risked being honest with others, even if I knew it was going to be hard to say to them or hard for them to hear. I've risked opening up about my problems and feelings to complete strangers on retreats and on Outward Bound. I've risked living away in a foreign country for a semester. I've risked being lonely and traveling by myself. I've risked applying for scholarships, internships, and job positions even if I didn't think I was qualified or good enough or smart enough.

The point is, I've made it a point in my life to try to never say no to an opportunity when it presents itself. If I had said no to all of the experiences when I've risked something, I wouldn't be who I am today. Risk is what makes us who we are. It sets us apart from those who are too afraid of change, challenge or chance.

So next time you get a chance to risk something, and you can't help but think twice about it and wonder if it will be worth it, just go for it. Do something extraordinary. Do something wild. Do something creative. Do something dangerous or out of character or uncomfortable or something you might fail at. Do it anyway, despite the setbacks or fears you have about its outcome. You might just find that you grow in the process and that you end up a better person because of the risks you take.

Have you ever risked something, even if you were afraid of failure? Even if you did fail, did you learn something in the process? And if you did learn something, then can it really be considered failure? Have you risked something and had it turn out better than you could have imagined? Did you feel different afterward, and were you proud of yourself with what you'd achieved?


  1. Great, deep, inspiring. I loved this post (among others). I'm actually passing through some sort of "professional crisis": while I was supposed to be preparing myself to start my PhD in Canada, I'm instead taking classes of photography and theater, and preparing a trip through Latin america :)

    It has always been hard to risk for me but I'm taking the first steps and this post is helping to that enlightenment ;)

    I "landed" here after looking at, and I write you from the only Southamerican country you know: Argentina.

    PS: I also agree that save it might me impossible, but it would probably be worse if we don't even try.

  2. Santi! It's wonderful to meet you and I am so happy that you found me through Pictory. What a wonderful place to showcase photography and our life experiences :-)

    I am glad to hear that you are taking risks in your life! Sometimes our lives lead us to strange places, but those places (although unexpected, challenging, scary, and new) are beyond anything we could imagine. I wish you more than the best of the best of luck in your photography and theater classes. Perhaps someday you will pursue your PhD... but today be satisfied to know that what you are doing is exactly what you are meant to be doing.

    Also, embrace your time during your trip through Latin America! I hope that you will occasionally update me on your travels. Someday I would love to take time to do the same.

    And as for saving the world: it is because of people like you, me and millions of others with hope for human life that the world WILL be a better place when it's our time to leave it.


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