Often times, I’ve really wondered just what the word “living” actually meant. I mean, there’s gotta be more to what we do every day, isn’t there? I would hate to think that eating, breathing, sleeping, or working is very much or exactly what “living” is.
I am willing to be the first to admit that I haven’t done much living. Sure, I eat a lot. Sure, I breathe an excessive amount. I don’t sleep much. I never really did. As for work, I find myself spending a lot of time there. But, even in the midst of all of those things, I still have been wondering just what makes “living” so important.
Over the last five years or so, I’ve really had to come to terms with a lot of things that have happened. I’ve lost so much and I’ve gained so much. But, the manner in which all of these things have changed the sum of my life very often elude and confuse me. I still don’t quite know how to take everything. I mean, is this all too good to be true? Have I lost perspective? Am I being toyed with? All the questions that raise doubt and insinuate that things aren’t what they appear to be linger moving forward still exist. I suppose the real question is, “How do I endure without letting these questions change my motive?”
As I mentioned before, lots of things have changed for me over the last five years. But, it’s only been over the last three years that I’ve begun to understand what it all means. I’ve had to realize that it all means something and that it all has its place in the scheme of it all. Saying that all of these events haven’t impacted me is an understatement; but, their effect on me now versus what it could have been still feels like I haven’t learned anything about being where I am. Granted, I’ve gained some perspective and some wisdom (hopefully) about all of these happenings but one thing I haven’t learned (or understood) is how all of these things let me “live.”
Before this phase of my life I’m in now, I didn’t have much of a life or even one at all. It was devoid of meaning, purpose, and relevance. It was empty… damn empty. I wasn’t living in any sense or interpretation of the word. I lost my life.
One of my best friends said to me that if there was going to be any hope of recovering from the pain and salvaging what was left of whatever it was that I had, it was going to happen being around the right people. I didn’t know who the right people were. I had no idea what kind of situation that would look like. I had no idea. But, for me to figure all of that out took one big thing: risk.
The catch about taking risk is that we don’t really want to take that chance of giving up whatever we have, no matter how great or small, for the sake of something that may be better. If we felt that we had a better choice, we wouldn’t risk anything and just appropriate the things we wanted. Taking a risk makes us feel that we are vulnerable. Taking risks means that we are desperate. Taking risks means that whatever we have just isn’t enough…
It’s a difficult admission to make to anyone, especially ourselves, that our current state is inadequate. It naturally extends into our mindset and eventually our decision making. We protect whatever it is that we have because we don’t want to risk losing it and ending up with nothing. Or, ending up with something far worse than what we had in the first place…
That was me. That was my shitty life. Well, at least it used to be.
Learning how to take risks… take the chance… is a skill that I have yet to even begin to say that I have any level of proficiency. There are so many parts of me… about who I am… about who I used to be… that say that you haven’t really risked anything and that everything that has been granted to me is a result of being a desperate, lonely, and scared man. Someone to be pitied… someone to feel sorry for… and someone that deserved every cut, scrape, scar, bruise, and broken aspect of everything that was going on.
I chose to believe that. I wasn’t able to risk them being wrong. So, I didn’t. I couldn’t take that chance that I would lose. Lose what very little I had… lose my sanity… lose my Humanity. I couldn’t admit that I was vulnerable. Who wants to admit that? Our first thought is to admit that it is a sign of weakness. Totally not true. Admitting that you’re vulnerable doesn’t mean that you’re weak or inferior. Admitting that you’re vulnerable is a simple declaration that you’re nothing more or nothing less who you are. Everything that you have or don’t have… everything in abundance or in scarce supply… nothing more or less the person you are. That, in itself, is a HUGE risk.
Without going too much into it, I can say that taking risks are what “living” is all about. Sure, there are an infinite amount of reasons to choose not to do something. There are so many reasons to not… Nobody talks about the one reason… one… to take the risk… to take the chance on something that could ultimately lead to something so life-changing that everything changes.
I’m very fortunate to be in a situation now that affirms the importance of taking chances. I’m very fortunate to be in a situation where risk, whether it has yielded either positive or negative results, has affected change in my life. It has enabled me to have the vision to put aside things I have certainty in and have faith in my doubt and misgivings. It makes not knowing what the future holds okay. I don’t think I, or anyone else for that matter, could live knowing exactly how it all turns out. It makes… living… dull, boring, and predictable.
Earlier, I mentioned that I had no clue about what I thought “living” was. Maybe, now I do. I lost my life. I ceased living. I could have died. Some would argue that I did die.
But, in losing my life and being close to death, I found life and I am beginning to understand what in means to be living.
Because I understand what it means to be living… I also understand what it means to live.
Nobody ever became a legend by not.
Every single person who is one took the risks and chose to be.
And if they could, we can too.
Gotta risk it to get the biscuit.