"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt". - Measure for Measure (Act I, Scene IV).
I want to get to Kona before I turn 43.
So I'm just going to go there. And soon.
A lot of life is like that: you must decide you're going to get something, and then act as if it's yours to have. The conviction alone will get you nearly there.
Nearly is not there, though. It isn't yes. And unfortunately, nearly to Kona, but not all the way there, will place a person treading water somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. And treading water isn't the idea. Neither is swimming desperately to the shore seeking safety and penance for the want we tried at and did not achieve.
I-like many- am attracted to those people who make me feel alive and ready to take on the world--those who live close to line--playing and pushing and participating in life without the fear they will end up having to swim to the shore after coming up short. I love those people and I hate them, because they intoxicate me with their desire and passion, and remind me that I'm, perhaps, not fully following my own. These are the people that just do it--hell be damned--and I want that too.
But pushing so far that you don't heed the line has its consequences. It's easy to see when those who live hell-by-damned end up winning the slot, but we fail to see that those who live this way actually do come up short a ton of the time--ending up in waters that are usually not ideal and often unsavory. We envy, but we aren't willing to put it all--meaning our hard earned stabs at stability and safety--on the line. We see their insouciance, and we want it, while simultaneously wanting to stay home and watch another episode of House. We long to eviscerate the feeling that we are not living life to the fullest; that somehow we are squandering time and will end up at our grave pissed that we didn't make more of it all.
This is why I do sport. Sport creates a playing field that is real, but not real; a field chock full of competitors who double as friends, a field on which we can place a dream and know that its fulfillment or lack thereof will not really jeopardize life as we know it. In short, in sport we can chase adrenaline within the confines of something that is bound and appropriate. We can emulate those that put it all on the line and really live--while staying safely behind the line and only crossing it at the end of a race.
This is not to say that I don't/haven't crossed lines other than the finishing lines in a races. I do and I have. I am, unfortunately or fortunately depending on who you ask, rather insouciant myself. But I know the costs of acting that way; I've suffered consequences both painful and humbling. Sport can dole out pain and humility--but it usually does so without taking life and limb. And so sport works for me. And if you're reading this, it likely works for you too.
I've always loved to play and compete and I've always loved the chase of a goal, an idea, a person. The ways I've managed my desire to chase has shifted over the years, but the rush of establishing a goal and seeing it through to its respective Kona has always been with me. I see a competitor in the distance and I place a target on his back. I can feel my body shift into a different gear and a surge of energy course through me. This is the best part; moving closer and closer but not yet signifying to the target that I'm about to make the pass.
Soon the pass must be made though, and herein lies the risk and the rush. It takes courage to make the pass. By passing you are calling the shot, making your intentions known, and issuing a challenge. You never know how the competitor will react, and so often the feeling at that point changes from pure adrenaline rush to pure adrenaline fear. The person could call you on it, match you, pass you back; the person could let you go "for now" only to crawl up your back and make the pass later, or the person could simply be in awe of your speed and not take you up on the challenge to race. In any case, if you pass, you are vulnerable to the possibility that you misjudged your competitor and yourself. You've made public your belief that you've got what it takes to beat said person, and that person could respond to you by making sure he makes it to the line before you. And that can feel -- really bad. It's tough when you make a break and it doesn't turn out the way you had planned. In short, chasing the adrenaline that comes with putting yourself on the line can fuel you to greatness--or it can cause you to crash and burn.
Of course, only chasing and passing in sport isn't enough to make a life fulfilled. Right? We need to chase and pass in real life too. The effect of taking risks in life, I believe, is that it forces us to move to a different place--to something unfamiliar. Such places foist on us wisdom and experience. Armed with this, the small, stable places we have built for ourselves stop feeling confining--and instead just feel like coming home.