Living to the Full



Imagine you’re in an airplane. You sit nervously in your seat as the plane cruises around 40, 000 feet. A parachute sits on your lap. A call comes over the speakers that the plane is over the spot. It’s time to jump. Wind rushes past your face as you walk excitedly to the door; you’re still carrying your parachute Then with a quick toss, you throw it out of the gaping door.
Then you jump out of the plane.
It sounds like a death sentence to jump from a plane without a parachute. But there’s an extreme version of parachuting where participants do just this. It’s called Banzai; participants toss the parachute out of the plane, jump after it and hope they are able to catch and strap the parachute on in mid-fall.
When thinking about people who live life to the full, this is what I imagine. I imagine extreme sports: skydiving, scuba diving and Antarctic explorations. I imagine activities where people go to the top, bottom or the end of the world. Some people dream of doing these activities.
None of my dreams include racing from a plane to catch my parachute before I turn into runway smear. What I may lack for in extremism, I make up for in quantity. My interests are varied, ranging from drama to guest service, from minimalism to business, from running to writing, from dance to plastering and from psychology to cooking. Recently I shared with someone that I was scared it was impossible to achieve all my dreams. I have so many I just don’t think they will all fit into one lifetime. I was told “not to worry”, that “I’ve got all the time in the world”. They were right, I’m only 22 years old. I hope to have a good seventy years to live, strive for and achieve my goals. With that in mind, it’s perfectly reasonable to dream of starting a business. I’ve got seventy years left.
But what if I don’t?
What if I died tomorrow? Or this evening? People who have cancer often realize how short life is and work to prioritise their goals. I don’t think you need cancer to realise how short life is.
But I’m scared. I don’t want to die without achieving at least some of my dreams. Yet, why should I work on my dreams when I could die tomorrow? So I’m stuck between wanting to achieve all of my dreams now, because I might die tomorrow and not wanting to bother working on anything, also because I might die tomorrow. It’s crippling.
I am realizing it doesn’t need to be one view or the other.
I’ve realised that it is impossible to achieve all my goals at once but if I don’t strive to work at them, I will never accomplish anything.
It’s resolving to live now and work for the future. The only way to grow is to stretch yourself. To do things that are scary but good. So I’ve taken a job that forced me to move across the province, because I know the position will make me grow and might open up some further opportunities. I’ve agreed to be a student mentor in a writing program, not because I think I’m qualified, but because I know it will make me grow and I hope that I can help a few people in the process. I’ve started this blog, not because I claim to be an expert, but because I know the practice at writing will be beneficial. It’s scary to put my work out there, but the only way to overcome something is do it.
When you’re jumping from a plane, your only hope of landing alive is a parachute. I imagine it’s terrifying to toss that one piece of safety away. I don’t have any desire to do this. But I do want to try things that scare me. Because something scares me more than jumping from a plane. I’m terrified of floating through life without working towards a goal or of dying without trying.

Comments

  1. "I’m terrified of floating through life without working towards a goal or of dying without trying."
    Wow, that really stuck out to me. I kind of feel the same way. I might not use the word 'terrified', but I have the urgency of time pressing upon me. Sometimes more than others. I want this life to count. For eternity.

    Take each day one day at a time. Work towards your goals, focus on what God has given you to do, and if you die in the process, well, you won't be blamed for a wasted life!

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