I love xkcd, and I love this comic the most:
In spite of (because of?) the instance of profanity it contains, it hangs prominently above both of my desks, at home and at work. I am, of course, the guy at the desk, and the girl’s voice is like a siren calling to me.
I am a coward to the core. I like my security and safety.
Only I don’t. I hate it. I think I realize at times that in choosing the safe and secure life, I take the greatest risk of all, of not living fully the one precious life that I do have.
I recently quoted Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous admonition to “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” It’s worth repeating. I’m going to turn it into my personal mantra.
I also have the habit of telling friends and family members to “be safe.” Last week, when Jana left for New England, I decided not to tell her this. Because if she was being safe, she’d stay right here in Irvine. I don’t want my children to “be safe.” (Just to be clear, I don’t want them to be utterly foolish, to dance in traffic or anything.) CatGirl took a risk today and asked her principal if she could start a chapter of Amnesty International on her campus. (She tried to ask in person, but couldn’t get a hold of him so did so via email. We’re still waiting for a response.) She was willing to get over the fear of being rejected. She’s already doing better than most adults, including me.
The most worthwhile experiences of my life–the defining moments–are those times I was willing to risk something: choosing to spend a year in Japan as a kid, leaving home at 17, quitting college to serve a mission, getting married young, having kids, completing a marathon, submitting my writing to contests and for publication, joining the Church, leaving the Church, meeting people I only knew online, moving to California without a job, blogging openly (esp. on fMh, which scared me to death), speaking at Sunstone and at peace rallies, climbing cliff faces, etc. These have all added such marvelous value and flavor and depth to my life.
When I peer out the window and see how far it is to the ground, I get dizzy with fear. But I’m gathering strength and courage. I’m stocking up on cat-5 cable and braiding my stash into a solid length of rope. I may have missed adventure’s first call, but soon I’ll be ready to rappel down and seek her out.