I love the gypsy type lifestyle that I was born into. I travel a lot during the winter season and if I am in one place for too long, I start getting restless. When my wheels hit the road again I feel like a weight is lifted and we are on to the next great adventure where I can not wait to see what lies around the next corner.
When I am home however I do not really get that anxious feeling.
As my next trip approaches I do not feel relieved, I am actually sort of sad in a way because I am in my comfortable space, and now I have to reach out into the world again and become some sort of adventure man again. I am intrinsically that adventure man through and through but sometimes it is nice to just be comfortable for a while.
I do something peculiar whenever I leave home these days. I don’t look outwards to the next adventure ahead but instead I peer inwards to what I am leaving behind. I see the unread stack of books on my coffee table placed just so. I see my bed half made, and that pile of clothes in the corner that I never got around to unpacking the last time I came back. I see my room as I see my life. A little chaotic at first glance but with a systematic cleanliness that usually only I can decipher.
As I look back on my chaotic cleanliness, preparing to shut the door for the last time in who knows how long I always have this singular thought.
What if I don’t come back from this trip and this is how my parents and family see my room as I have just left it? The stack of books just so, the bed, the clothes. I imagine them walking through my personal space that I no longer belong to anymore, living in the grief of my absence, wondering if there was ever a system to my chaos or if I was just rolling wildly through life.
It is a sad thought but one I can not help but have. I think it started with my brother and has only been reaffirmed solidly by my friends Ronnie, Bryce, and most recently Murphy. Beckie and Spencer are also rarely far from thought and never forgotten.
As we grow older we are going to lose more and more friends and family. 5 seems like so small a number and yet much too many at the same time and I am deeply saddened that it will only rise given time.
It is because of this that my mother worries about my adventurous side. Her biggest fear is something happening to me. I think one of my biggest fears is nothing happening to me.
I fear living life without really living it. Without ever truly embracing it. I jump into any exciting/mildly dangerous activity I can because I want to feel that rush of being alive. Of fully embracing what I have.
My absolutely favorite part about life is doing things that terrify me and accomplishing those tasks despite the panic bubbling up inside of me. An interesting thing happens when you are facing your fears. You either let it consume you, let it own you. Or you rise above them and stamp them down until they are a whisper behind what is required or you. It is such a unique process and subsequent feeling.
My best friend calls me fearless but I don’t think that is it. Everyone has fear. Maybe it is bravery, or perhaps it is being young and reckless. But probably it is simply just stupidity.
I went rock climbing last week and as I have a healthy fear of heights it was an activity designed for my panic button. For my search of a life lived. There was an incident with my ropes and honestly, (mom), nothing to write home about but it was a scenario that could have had some very real consequences. When it happened and I was up there, hanging hundreds of feet above the ground on what could have been a very short trip to the bottom, I wasn’t even that scared. I was angry. So incredibly angry at myself that I could have caused everyone I knew all of the grief that I was and currently am feeling over losing Murphy.
I like to think I have a pretty good idea of where the line of safety and life meet but sometimes for me it is blurred. I don’t have to put myself up on a cliff but in the same moment I consider that I could get hit crossing the street or any innumerable amount of random accidents that can happen to us in everyday life. I don’t like the thought of living in fear; of not doing things in my life that make my heart beat a little faster when there is a very real possibility that I could get taken out by something so arbitrary.
Would I not be living life in fear if I had decided to keep both of my feet planted firmly on the ground? Even if I did there is no guarantee for safety. Is hanging from a cliff side any more dangerous than walking down the road? I knew I could do it if everything went according to plan, yet it is all about managing risks and sometimes there are circumstances outside of our control.
So where does the line lie? How can I continue to live but not feel like I am risking not only my life, but the well being of all those that I love?
I imagine it is a line that I will walk for the rest of my systematically chaotic mess of a life. However long that may be.
Rest in peace Murph knowing you’ve made us all more insightful, better human beings. We love you.