Living dangerously

“Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
– Mary Oliver

This is one of my favorite quotes in the world. It’s next in line for the tattooist’s ink, with some appropriate artwork that I haven’t decided on yet.

I love learning new things. I think that’s what life should be about. I’ve often said that the only awesome thing about living forever would be that you’d have the ability to see and do so many amazing things.

In 2008 I quit my day job and struck out into the uncertain world of “unemployment” aka writing for a living. *grins* My husband was set to leave for Iraq in the middle of the year and this presented us with an opportunity to spend as much time together before that as possible.

On my own blog I called 2008 the Year of Living Dangerously and for me, who so easily gets stuck in a rut, it was. For 12 months I threw myself into my “wild and precious life.”

I learned l’art du déplacement and had the bruised shins to prove it. I dyed my hair yet another crazy color. I completed a grueling test for my 2nd Degree Black-Belt in the July heat. Went camping and rock-climbing (for someone afraid of heights this is a big deal *laughs*) and learned how to kayak. I travelled to San Francisco for the RWA National Conference, where I met a number of awesome folks for the first time. Lisa came to visit me in October and I got tattoo number six while she got her very first one. And I took a trip to Phoenix where I re-learned how to four-wheel (That was exciting! Especially getting backed into a cactus!) and spent two days learning two new Kung Fu forms.

It was all-in-all a great year, and even better it didn’t end with the 31st of December. I’m back at a day job now because there are more important things than free time at the moment, but I’m still making an effort to do something once a year – at minimum – that falls into the “dangerous living” category. *grins*

In 2009, it was attending ComicCon in San Diego and having a total blast. In 2010, it was taking a trip to Chicago that involved me having to drive in Chicago. *laughs* Trust me, that’s a big deal for me.

Now in 2011, I’m getting ready to run the Tough Mudder Event in Beaver Creek the end of June. Together with my sister, brother-in-law, and several friends, I’m going to tackle an eight mile course filled with 20+ obstacles. Some of the obstacles involve my greatest fears, like crawling through small tunnels and submerging myself in water. Eep.

But I’m going to do it, because as I said in a blog post back in 2008 – It’s not about not being afraid. It’s about getting up, facing your fears head on and spitting in their eye before you walk through them. And that is what I plan to do with every second of my wild and precious life.

What about you? How do you follow your bliss? What are you doing with your life? Are you letting fear of failure hold you back, or worse falling into that trap of “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Don’t wait for tomorrow. Do it today. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

K.B. Wagers

(Header photo by Don Branum. Body photo is a collage hanging by my desk from Prana Catalog with various quotes from Jillian Michaels.)

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16 responses to “Living dangerously

  1. Jar O' Marbles

    I follow my bliss by simply refusing to let fear tell me that I can’t do something..like start a business. =) I have a tendency to live my life according to a very simple mantra, Just keep walking, everything will get better or work out eventually. And it always does, you just have the choice of standing still or moving forward. I like forward momentum, it makes you a much harder target to hit. lol

    • I have a great quote my mom gave me from Katherine Paterson.

      “To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.”

  2. We’re certifiable, you know that right?

    You know me, this week was a H U G E step. Every good marriage and family unit has to have a proper amount of codependency to exist happily, but…. I haven’t had a debilitating panic attack yet imagining the worst being so far from home. I think breaking away from a mental illness, and I do believe this was a slight variation of post traumatic stress, can be frustratingly hard. (If you want to call it mental illness. I suppose so. They list depression as one.)

    I’m late for class! 😀

  3. *kicks the computer* I had a really great reply about breaking away from unhealthy co-dependency, even if it’s your marriage and family and it only affects you.

    But some digital hog ate it.

  4. Whenever I am afraid to do, learn or try something new, I look at whomever else is already doing it and ask myself “Am I that much less than they are?” The answer is always “No!” I jump right in.

    • I like jumping right in. 😀 Sometimes not always the best of decisions, but it makes for interesting stories!

      K

  5. Katy, I’m so with you. I’m a little older than you and in my early 40s I went through I period of extreme anxiety (didn’t know this at the time but it often happens to women around this time). I finally had a real panic attack and decided to deal with the whole mess rather than shutting down my life. Ever since then, I do what scares me – as Eleanor Roosevelt so wisely said “Do one thing every day that scares you”. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point. So I fly to places I want to go to, I write things I haven’t written before, I entered into a new relationship (and boy, that was scary!). I just keep doing it –

    Kate

  6. And it is a hell of a lot more fun than watching!

    Wally

  7. I still have this quote on my board above my desk: “If you don’t feel like you’re going to throw up, you’re not taking enough risks.” – Alison Covarrubias

    Leaving my cushy part-time day job and committing to writing while my kids are at school (and sometimes at night)? Risk. Sticking with it for this long, no matter what? Risk. Worth it? Hell yeah.

    I am, however, still waiting for the big payoff. 😀

  8. Last January I went sport fishing and got to watch porpoises swimming in the ocean, ziplined high above the tree tops in the jungle and went ocean kayaking. My vacation is always a time when I try to do something new, fun and challenging.

    My everyday life can be predictable, but this year I took a chance and working with another woman, we’re recreating the Northwest Bookfest (a major book festival). Scary? You bet. Challenging? Very. Fun? So much fun I giggle just thinking about it.

    I don’t remember the exact quote, but I’m motivated by the idea of: “What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about failing?”

    I’m doing that all the time, because fear is always what holds you back.

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