Once upon a time in a land far, far away you lived wild and free without preconceived notions and mental trepidation. You didn’t even understand what preconceived notions and mental trepidation meant. Shit, I probably didn’t understand them until a few years ago, and I’m almost 32. Ok, hell, I even looked up trepidation to make sure it meant what I thought it meant.
The point is, you were once young and innocent in all your views of the world and there was something really beautiful about that. You hadn’t been told NO a hundred million times, or had everything ruined by some behind-the-scenes documentary. And, as a result, you were just a little person that lived, and dreamed, and imagined all the things.
Remember what that felt like? To just be a Toys ‘R’ Us kid? To play and smile and be free of all the thoughts that prevent us from enjoying life now? To have the freedom not to worry about what may happen or what has happened before, but to just do whatever the hell you wanted to? To have every idea be the best idea ever?
What would you do to recapture that feeling? To live freely, and allow life to just be a constant surprise instead of a pointless, anxious routine?
Well, there’s only one way to do that – start over. Take that guidebook you’ve made in your head for how to navigate through life and throw it out the fucking window. Try everything again. Do everything like it’s the first time. Say, “Fuck it. Why not?” to anything that crosses your mind. Live. Just do it.
I mean look at how far we’ve drifted away from our spontaneous, random, wild, and free selves. Look at our daily routines. How we take the same route home everyday because it’s the fastest, eat at the same restaurants because we know what to expect, listen to the same music because it’s what’s played on the radio, hang out with the same people because we know that they like us, or stay at the same job because it’s safe. But why? Why don’t we venture out from our mundane routines these days?
Is that what our childhood selves would’ve done? Is that the life we once dreamed and hoped for: to be routine?
Where has our sense of exploration and curiosity gone after all these years?
This is Robot #043 – “Patrick” from my friend Joey Ponce’s series Robots of Indianapolis. For more on Joey and his ‘robots’ follow him on Instagram @joeyponce.
Why aren’t we asking ourselves what if one of those other infinite routes home has something worth stopping for on it; what if a new restaurant could give us something more than what we expected; what if there’s this crazy notion that the best, purest forms of musical talent have yet to be discovered; what if talking to a stranger could expand our circle of friends and provide new love and support; what if there’s another job out there that’s a better fit for us or a place where we could learn something new; what if I karate kicked my mom in the ass; what if we just did whatever the hell we wanted to?
But that’s not what we ask ourselves is it? We ask ourselves what if something bad could happen on one of those streets; what if we spend $50 on food somewhere new and it sucks; what if that concert has a bunch of weirdos trying to grind on me; what if this person is crazy and won’t leave me alone; what if I hate some other job more than this one; what if I don’t know what’s going to happen next; what if I can’t ford the river; what if I catch Polio?
And yet that is what we call life. Which sounds nothing like living to me. None of that depicts anyone wild and free in my opinion. Unfortunately, though, we’ve become big people now who’ve allowed all our bad experiences and bad influences in life to create an enormous amount of fear – even an anticipation that something could always go wrong. Preventing us from allowing so much to go right.
We deem the risk of trying something new, or putting ourselves out there, or discovering things the hard way to be too precarious to do so. While at the same time we feel stuck, we yearn for more, we tell ourselves “One day.”
Well, today is that day my friends. Today and everyday is the day to go out into a fucking snow storm and be the only idiot running through the streets, because you’ve never run through the streets in a blizzard so why not? It’s ok to be worried it might be cold or that you might slip and fall, but you’re also smart enough now to dress yourself appropriately and tell the difference between ice and snow. So by not getting out of your comfort zone all you’re really doing is sitting around worrying about something that has yet to (and probably never will) materialize. All the while, idiots like me who have the mind of a two year old are out there being wild and free and having fun.
Life’s too short my friends to watch other people being idiots all the time and having fun with those big, ridiculous smiles on their faces. So stop adulting, and learn how to be a Toys ‘R’ Us kid again.
This doesn’t mean you have to be irresponsible and put yourself in harms way, or stop paying your bills. That wouldn’t alleviate any worry in your life. And I’m definitely not saying do everything I’ve done (like jump in a frozen river) because your results may not be the same. I probably could’ve died several times doing some of the things I’ve done, but there’s a million different ways that we can die everyday and if it’s my time I’d rather die living than by ‘accident’. I’d rather my friends say, “That was Parks being Parks” as opposed to “Poor Parks”.
So what I’m really saying is that if I had allowed every bad thing in my life to hold me back from doing the next thing in my life, I’d be completely paralyzed. I wouldn’t have any joy. There would be no spontaneity. I would have no perspective. And I don’t want you to have anything holding you back in your life either; especially yourself.
The only reason I have found so much joy in my life is because; well, in a lot of ways I never grew up. I’ve always been really curious and pushed boundaries and refused to do things just because. I’ve never lost hope and I’ve always hated the idea of fear. I constantly force myself to do things outside of my comfort zone, because I know by doing so I will have the ability to see through all the bullshit in my life and in my own head. To see things as they truly are, not as I perceive them to be. Allowing me to gain real perspective and appreciation for all things. To just make the most out of any situation, and have life surprise me in the most amazing ways.
So if you wanna feel alive, if you wanna feel the rush of riding the waves of life to the shores of jubilation (it’s hard to say jubilation in a serious way), stop what you’re doing. Stop saying no. Stop assuming something will go bad. Stop worrying about what everything’s gonna look like. Stop reading this post and go do something. Do anything, so long as it’s different than what you would normally do. Allow yourself to feel the freedom of letting go of all that unnecessary fear that’s been holding you back. Allow yourself the reward of finding out things the hard way. Allow yourself to be a little kid again. Take all those crazy ideas, smile a big dumb smile, and say, “Fuck it. Why not?”
You’ll never regret the things you do. Only the things you don’t.
There’s only one way.
(Oh, and yes I did…)