I had a conversation today about the most “unsafe” thing I’ve ever done. Surprisingly, I’ve done a lot of stupid, unsafe things. Going down the river in a dingy when I was a teenager and nobody knew where I was; that one ‘random’ night in first-year university when my friends and I hopped on a random bus just to see where it would take us (and getting disappointed when the bus ended up at West Edmonton Mall); going on midnight hikes in the woods, in the winter, without telling anyone; making fires in coffee cans in the back alley so we could roast marshmallows… all of these things seemed innocent enough when I was young and reminscing, anything could have happened to me. But nothing did; I’m sitting here typing this, and I’m still alive. And all of these aforementioned memories were stupid, reckless risks that didn’t really give me a big payoff. And yet, I did them anyways. I wanted to do risky things. I wanted to keep myself on my toes and have stories to tell. I’m only 23 and these aren’t wildly out-of-control stories even. But, I, a young person, do have things I’ve done that I can talk about.
Too many people, I think, are concerned about the idea of being “safe”. I tell people the unsafe things I did, or plan on doing even, and they’re appalled with me. I’m not really that much of a risk-taker, and I’ve been hurt by certain risks I have taken and I’m thus, not prone to taking risks like that again. But generally, I don’t like to be too straight-edged. I like to occasionally do out-of-character things. I think that if you’re too concerned about safety, you miss out on all of the edgy, exciting, storytelling moments that you’ll want to tell people in the future. I mean, you could be the safest person ever and NEVER leave the house, but then the one time you did decide to leave, you could get hit by a speeding truck. Dead on impact. And you would regret that time you didn’t go camping without an RV or a tent, or regret not rock climbing… having regrets is a horrible feeling. Taking risks that pay off is the best feeling in the world.
Safety is important — nobody needs to be ‘reckless’ in their lives. But I like to step out of this cushy little comfort zone I have, because I think it makes life fun. It makes you appreciate your surroundings, what you have, and what’s outside the door…
If I were to give advice, I’d say – don’t pass up risks. Really think about yourself in the future; think of yourself as an elderly person who is spending her (or his) last days watching from a window with nothing to do but wait and bide time. Think of looking back on your life as you see the world change seasons from the window… what do you want to reflect on? Something? Or nothing?