I’ve always been a glass half full kind of girl. You know the type that always finds the good in any situation, the kind that believes in laughing to keep from crying. So it’s no surprise that for years my mantra was “living my life like it’s golden.” The minute I heard Jill Scott melodically bellow it out, I knew it was for me. That was until a year ago when my dad died and all of a sudden, golden just didn’t seem good enough.
Staring 40 in the face and determined to live each day as if it were my last, I vowed to live my life like it’s PLATINUM. What I meant was to hell with a bucket list, if I think it or want it, I will plan it and do it. No more thoughts about what I wish to do upon retirement age or where I plan to go. Life is not guaranteed and each day is truly a gift.
So I made a list, a list of things I’ve always wanted to do. Most of them, were things that at some point in my life I feared. Fear, is the biggest and most common self-inflicted wound. Some times we are forced to rid ourselves of it. For example, while crossing a bridge the other week, I laughed to myself remembering a time when I would have turned down the radio, put both hands on the wheel, slowed down to a snail’s pace just to cross a bridge. I’m not sure why I feared bridges, and I am not sure of the exact moment I rid myself of the unnecessary anxiety. I think it was the summer I interned at the Virginian-Pilot and was literally surrounded by water several times a day.
Remembering a much younger me, my best guess would be that I was forced to get over it. At this point in my life, I don’t want to be forced, I want to live fearlessly…intentionally. A few years ago I prayed, fasted and meditated for months to rid myself of fear. My new found freedom continues to reap immeasurable joy, but left a laundry list of should’ve, could’ve, would haves.
Towards the top of my list of want to’s was zip lining. I have no idea what sparked the zip-lining bug, but I was bit and I wanted to try it. For Mother’s Day/Birthday my husband arranged a quick trip to Myrtle Beach. While there, I couldn’t resist zip-lining option and was elated at my husband’s enthusiasm to join in on the fun. Now that was living my life like it was platinum. I gladly strapped in to the harnesses, gallantly walked up the thousands of steps and yes I seriously needed to catch my breath at the top and pat the sweat from my brow. I stepped onto the platform and for the first time, heard my heart pounding out of my chest and thought about changing my mind, but it was too late. I blinked and my legs were in the air, I screamed the entire time, couldn’t see a thing below me, my eyes were filled with water and I probably swallowed a bug or two while laughing at myself. I could see the ocean, I felt completely free and I was so happy about our chosen activity. In fact, so was my husband which is why, we then did it again.
My next “want to” was parasailing. I always thought it looked cool. The parachute above the water seemed exciting so imagine my elation when my bonus sister invited me to join her on a parasailing excursion while on a family Disney vacation. As we prepared to sign our lives away we were asked if we wanted to parasail at 450 feet or 600 feet or some higher number that I couldn’t easily compute. We decided to go for the 600 feet and encouraged my niece and bonus mom (mother-in-law) to join us. Not to be outdone, they agreed.
Because we were the first on the boat, we were also the first in harnesses. Again, I was good until it was time to actually ascend, but it was too late. As we went up, we couldn’t help but admire the view in Orlando. It was beautiful and we chit chatted about how soothing it was and what a beautiful and calm day. Before long, it was time to descend and it wasn’t until then that we realized that neither of us had been given instructions on landing. Would we land in the water? Would we land on the boat? Would they catch us? Well, as we continued to ponder, we also continue to come down and fast. In fact, we saw the cameras and heard them ask us to pose and next thing I know my hind parts were skidding to a halt on the exact same spot my adventure began.
Our co-captain/photographer asked if we were okay and I resoundingly said yes. Then I heard my sister say very calmly “I am not okay.” When I followed her eyes to her shin, we found a puncture wound that immediately called for stitches. She had a matching one on the other leg.
They escorted me off the boat and carried her to a stretcher. She and my bonus mom went to the hospital where she received a total of eight stitches. OUCH. She finished our vacation in a wheelchair, but with a smile. Although we wished our adventure ended differently than it started, neither of us regretted the experience.
I guess that’s how living fearless will be. Sometimes, it will be better than I expected and sometimes it will be totally different than I imagined. But something tells me I will never regret my decision to live my life like it’s PLATINUM. I suggest you do the absolute same.