I’m not a big fan of TV in general, but I do love documentaries about things that I don’t see on a daily basis – polar bears, extreme sports, survival, the natural world, space exploration and that kind of thing. I figured what was the point of sitting at home in front of a box watching people do things I could see them doing in daily life – shopping, getting drunk, falling asleep in meetings, arguing, waiting in traffic and so on. Then it struck me that I was actually more boring than any of those people in the situations I described. Here, I was, spending my life – the only one I’ll ever have – sitting in front of a box surrounded by four concrete walls, dreaming of the world I actually live in. How stupid was that?
That’s when I decided I was through with the mediocre life I was living and I was going to jump headfirst into something else and let the current take me wherever it wanted, whether that meant the top of Mount Everest, the middle of a desert or even locked up in a maximum security correctional facility. Wherever I went would be worth it and ten times more exciting and ‘vivrant’ than commuting to and from my sterile office every day and spending my free time on my couch in a rented house in Whittier.
There are so many ways that you can add excitement to your life. You don’t necessarily have to be as extreme as me and quit working. You could simply change your career – there are plenty of jobs that will put you in new, exciting situations. Join the army and find out what it’s like to be on a real battlefield in the middle of a war – something most people only read about or see in movies. Join a shipping company and see the other surface of the world that most of us forget is even there (Whittier is about a half hour drive from the ocean but I think I only saw it three or four times in twenty years). Feel the excitement of watching pirates come speeding towards you on their skiffs, their teenage hands barely able to cope with their aging AK-47s. Marvel as you see dolphins and whales swim alongside your vessel.
You could be like Christopher McCandless and ditch everything you own, making your way from place to place, trying out different jobs, getting to know different people, learning new skills, hunting and foraging for your own food. Don’t die from eating poisonous berries though!
You could become a mountaineer, scaling the peaks of the world, or a free climber, conquering the man-made mountains of our biggest cities, knowing that with each movement and each slight gust of wind, the chance of slipping and falling to your certain death increases. You could become a squatter in Seattle and join the next big grunge band or whatever – touring the world and resenting it all. Or go to live in the jungles of Africa and become a member of a pack of gorillas, forgetting that you ever lived in civilization.
If you want to know what I did, just in case it’s for you – well I bought several Greyhound tickets, saw some amazing places like Salt Lake City, Idaho Falls and Butte, MT. I eventually found a great place to build a new life with a live-in farm labouring job I got in North Dakota. I spent the rest of the money I had on some tools and my pride and joy – my saw which I first laid eyes on at The Sharp Cut. Now I have got together a group of guys and in our spare time we build and fly gliders. I wouldn’t change it for my old life ever!
So, be like me – get out into the real world, see it in all its splendor and start to realize that you have no limits.