Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fearful or Fearless?

Fearful or Fearless? As a human being in any given moment we have these two choices. For one reason or the other we tend to choose one or the other each moment we live. Because I have come close to death for long periods of time at age 2, at ages 10to15 and at ages 50 and 51, I have seen both. As a teenager I found I could go back and forth between fear and fearlessness pretty easily, almost without effort. One moment I would be fearlessly climbing trees, scuba diving, going off the high dive, jumping dirt bikes(motorcycles) 8 feet off the ground and then alternately worrying about a girlfriend or someone who had been fearless at the wrong time my age and who was now dead.

I think one sees fearlessness more in 3rd world countries where one is constantly surrounded by death. When I travelled India and Nepal for 4 months in 1985&6 with my family it changed the 5 of us greatly. Though I don't miss the complete sense of constant overwhelm of the senses I do miss greatly the preciousness of meeting people who really know death and just how precious life really is. In comparison, most people I meet in the United States are like sleepwalkers in comparison in the way they navigate their lives.

There was a statement made by an African in the movie Blackhawk Down. He said something like "Americans live long boring lives but here in Africa we live quick interesting ones!" I think that about says the truth of life. You can live a long boring one or you can live a quick interesting one. It is always your choice.

In a strange way I have lived both kinds of lives at different points in my life. So for me, the most amazing thing is that I'm still alive at 59 years of age. At age 25 I really never expected to see 30. But at 30 I was a single parent raising my son alone. When my son was born when I was 26 I realized I needed to stay alive for him so I stopped Rock climbing. I think this was a good idea because one of my rock climbing buddies died climbing within 2 years. So I guess you could say my son saved my life.

I have always had very good instincts about how far I could take things and still survive. I've noticed most people don't seem to have that ability. For example, I realized that I couldn't ride my off road motorcycle every day. I rationed myself to 2 hours two days a week. I found that if I rode more than that I started to get injured doing stunts and taking risks. I found if I rode I had to keep pushing the envelope until I got injured.

I found the same thing in regard to dating from ages 21 to 25. When I broke up with the girl I had planned the next 20 years around at age 21 I was lost. So rather than commit suicide directly or by accident taking risks I would look for another girlfriend and then another and then another. I found this was a way for me to stay alive. Because as long as I was dating someone I knew I couldn't commit suicide directly or indirectly. So the end result of this was that between 1969 and 1973 I had a lot of girlfriends. People seem at times impressed with this. However, I wasn't happy doing this. It was just a way to stay alive until I found the right girl I could settle down and live with. I can remember saying to friends even at age 25, "I'm going to have a long series of girlfriends. I don't think I'll ever settle down." Within 6 months of this my then live in girlfriend got pregnant and we married before my son was born. This changed everything in my life since. Though my girlfriend-wife and I broke up within 4 years I raised my son to adulthood by myself. Though I was 26 when my son was born my wife was only 21 and not ready for being a wife or a mother. Actually, I don't think she was ever ready to be a mother for life, but a girlfriend and a wife, yes.

So are you fearful or fearless? I guess there is a time for everything.

No comments: