Every day people climb mountains, skydive, play chicken, bike without a helmet, invest in the stock market, and go spelunking. Each one of these activities comes with its own risks, and yet those risks do not deter us from coming back to the same activities again and again. Perhaps it’s a desire to break out of our conventional lives, to lets risk and adrenaline drive us into new experiences or attempt to relive the rush we’ve had from previous, similar excursions. Ultimately however, despite that fact that I’ve chosen a wide range of activities here, I’m not sure that the gains outweigh the risks.
Perhaps it is best summed up in Gun Shy, a little movie I like that is virtually unknown (despite its all-start cast), when an investment banker in his later years talks about his loss of love for his job. He speaks (and I couldn’t find the exact quote) about going out onto the trading floor dressed in a cape, feeling like Don Juan, as if the world is his oyster. But somehow, somewhere along the line, he lost that passion. Now he’s basically just angry with his life and his job.
I can feel it already – that frustration, that desire to break out and do something “totally unexpected”. A part of that is because my current job is less than fulfilling, but it’s more than that, too. There’s something alluring about taking a chance, or making a risky bet. I’m not saying that I’m ready to quit my day job and start training for Everest, or even that I want to buy myself a bike. In fact, I find both of those ideas almost equally terrifying. But I think it would be just as bad for me to try and ignore the occasional desire to do something a little crazy as it is to embrace that urge completely and start jumping of roofs. The desire comes from somewhere, I think in all of us, and once I figure out where, I should have a better idea about the why.