Happiness is Not Safety
Originally posted April, 2019
The quote above has been flowing around the internet and possibly truer words have never been spoken. If you don’t move forward, take chances, risk yourself in some way, you stagnate. True, you revert to a place that is more predictable that is safer, but is that better, is that someplace you’ll truly be happier?
I say no, and I give you this example. Remember the first time you fell in love, remember that amazingly terrifying feeling of falling helplessly and loving every second and every breath you took during those moments. You never get there, you never feel that way without making a change, taking a step forward, a risky step at that. Yes, often that feeling was followed by the normal rollercoaster of love, but would you avoid the downside, trade that most amazing feelings, for being safe and never hurt but never knowing love. No matter the pain you’ve felt I don’t think you would.
Too many times in life we opt for safety, security, predictability. We pass on a wonderful job opportunity because it means moving and uprooting our lives. We let our doubts work their evil on us and scare us with the idea we might not be good at the new gig. What we effectively do is let the current box we live in and the script that society has handed us define who and what we will be. Stop it! Scare yourself, you can never truly know how amazing you are, what you are capable of or how wonderful life can be until you step out onto the edge and try something new.
This idea is amazingly relevant for me right now. I just came off of a year of doing just this. When I told my human resource director at my last job what I was doing, that I was stepping away from work he was actually confused. “You won’t have health insurance, you know you won’t acrue any time towards your retirement?” Now these are idiotic statements and although I didn’t like him very much I can’t say he was a truly stupid man. What had happened was I had stepped out of the box and it was inconceivable to him and so he started quoting the things that our society has scripted for us, things that keep us safe, health care, retirement, blah, blah, blah. You know what’s not in that script, FUN! The script doesn’t talk about enjoying life, trying new things, exploring this amazing world and the greatest gift we’ve ever been given, our life.
By time I start working again sometime in the late spring or summer, I will have been off of work fifteen to eighteen months. Not only didn’t I die or ruin my life but I had an utterly amazing year. Now I know what some of you are thinking. Sure, you’re single, you make good money when you’re working, you don’t have kids, it’s easy for you. My reply is bullshit! You know plenty of single people, how many of them have ever left their scripted lives and just traveled for a year after the age of 30. We all have complications and responsibilities in life. All of these can be addressed if you are willing to take a chance, to give up the scripted safety for a bit.
There are whole websites, like Families on the Road, that cater to folks who have taken their kids out of school and hit the road for months or years at a time. What people think is that this sort of thing is half-assed and irresponsible, it’s just the opposite. In order to do what these people did, what I did, it takes a lot of planning. I planned for three years before I took this year off. It took that long to figure out the plan, how to pay for the time off, how to save and create the finances needed to cover the responsibilities and bills we all have whether we are working or not. Irresponsible, how could creating the coolest year in your kids whole childhood be considered irresponsible?
Life goes by so fast, it seems like a month ago I was at a parade for the US Bicentennial in 1976, college seems like last week, the birth of my fourteen year-old niece hours ago. Don’t let life slip by my friends. One of the greatest compliments I have ever given was by a co-worker in Tennessee, she looked at me and said, “my friend you are a sampler of life.” The fact that being that type of person is not normal is one of the saddest things I can think of, we get one shot, why the hell not make it the best ride possible.
I know it’s hard, I know it’s scary, beyond terrifying even. It’s as scary as climbing a thirty foot rock wall with a thirty-five pound pack on your back. I know that fear all too well, but what I’ve learned every time I’ve done something like this, is that it pays more dividends than you can possibly imagine. I love that so many of you who read my writings do so to come along for the ride. I’m happy you do, but what I want even more for you, is for you go for your own ride and take me along. I don’t want you just to virtually experience my happiness, I want you to create your own. You’re never too old, too fat, too bald, too small, too broke to do this, it just takes the desire to do it with a bit of planning. So be bold my friends, identify the step and take it, boldly, bravely and take the happiness you deserve and along the way, and always remember to have a good day my friends ~ Rev Kane