Cliff-Jumping

If you’ve peered into my mind via my writing much at all, I’m sure you’re aware it’s not a neighborhood you want to traverse after dark by yourself sometimes.   Brace yourself for a trip that while totally safe, may not be totally comfortable.

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I’m really into researching, learning from the past, trying not to repeat the same mistakes man-kind has made since we first became aware of our own mortality, etc.

In short, I like to KNOW.

I’m also highly cynical of the social construct I was born into.    I have enough information crammed into my gray matter to point out what, historically, happens when any one or thing has too much power, influence or blind respect thrown his/her/it’s way.  I’m also enough of a history buff to understand today’s Facts are often tomorrow’s Follies.

In short, I’m not totally mesmerized by Experts, statistical data or scientific studies.

Therefore, I continually walk the narrow path wedged in between “Looking before I leap” and “stepping off the cliff to see if this flying thing does work.”

It’s not always an easy journey.

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Because of my previous obsession with researching and not making mistakes, my natural desire to ‘fix things’ and my passionate nature to boldly go where no one even wanted to visit, I find myself with a lot of internal conflict at times.

I also find myself  spending enormous amounts of time explaining to others my behavior, actions and ideas which, from their viewpoint, indicates, dysfunction, selfishness, procrastination (hey, why don’t you join in the game – pick a character trait with a negative attributes and fill in the blank….)

(Granted, I could not explain, but while I’m okay skipping along to the beat of my own drummer, things tend to get a little more complicated  for me when others in my circle of loved ones actually prefer flute music…In other words, there are those folks we  try just a little bit harder for in the areas of communication, understanding and selfless acts.)

That time, in my mind,  could have been better spent figuring out how we can design a car or home energy system to run off mosquitoes and bind weed.

It could happen, if we put our minds to it!   I have that much faith in human ingenuity.

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I will say if you decide you really like the feeling of jumping off the cliff and falling/flying – there’s often a bevvy of people around you that for whatever their own reasons, will do their best to dissuade you.

There are those who wish to install a fence at the edge, so you are safe, despite your foolishness.   There are others who smugly wait at the bottom with the ambulance, confident they will be able to say “I told you so” before you actually die from your fall, all the while posturing themselves as your rescuer.

Others are more than willing to give you the safety-straps,  glider, bungee cords,  lawn-chair with helium balloons attached to it, or any other of the various tools they used while jumping off the cliff.   They didn’t die, but they also didn’t really find out if they could fly, either, did they?

 A percentage of folks will vote for shutting the whole trail down, because it’s just too dangerous – that beautiful valley below is luring folks to their death!

And once in awhile, you may run into someone who would really like to push you off the cliff, because their world will be easier if you just fly away or disappear, at least for awhile.

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Jumping off the cliff without knowing if you’re going to fly or not can be a scary proposition – yet, in small ways, we all do it everyday – the minute something becomes important enough to us, we cast fear and danger aside and take the leap.

Saving our loved one from an oncoming car, starting a new business or being audacious enough to plant a zone 6 perennial while living in zone 5 are all examples of cliff-jumping.

There are those who will say the above examples have nothing in common because the risks are different – I say, keeping your eyes alert to any opportunity to jump off the cliff is the only way to live.  I will also point out, for each example there are experts who will tell you what you should do and what the statistical chances are for success – if you read long enough, you will find contradictory information, all coming from experts.   That’s time you could have spent designing the bind-weed fueled engine!

Life is risky.   Each moment can contain chaos or beauty, danger or reward – and more often than not, each moment contains all of the above.

We can legislate, regulate, pontificate and beautificate (yes, I just made that word up)  and no matter how we attempt defy death and look good while doing it, we’ll still have the urge to jump off the cliff, figuratively or literally, at some point in our lives.   Whether driven by despair, wanderlust or sheer bordeom, we each take risks, big and small, during our journey.   And while we should not be arrogant enough to take risks with the life of others, not risking ourselves, ever, means we’ve become what’s known as “The Walking Dead”.

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Somewhere along the journey, we figure out that having a friend who says, “Hmm.   Interesting idea.  If it works, good for you.  If it doesn’t, I have a first aid kit,” is worth more than a thousand expert opinions.

For myself, I’m getting to like the idea of flying more and more.    I chafe at the fences, danger signs and well-meaning, “but such and such could happen” dialogues – -as I think anyone who is smart enough to recapture their youth before it’s totally gone does.    I don’t need to look young, but man, I want to feel young until the day I die.

I’m tired of turning my ankle on the narrow, rocky pathway that keeps me safe.   And I’m not  convinced the path is as safe as I’ve been led to believe.

I’m longing after that grassy meadow in valley – see the one?  right over there, near the stream – why not fly over to take a look-see?

I’m also getting better at surrounding myself with cheerleaders who own first aid kits.

I’m hedging my bets as best I can.

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Now when someone tells me in one way or another to go jump off a cliff, I smile and say, “I just might do that”.

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