I heard an interesting question posed on the radio last week. The DJ asked, “Would you rather live an even-keeled life in which you were perfectly content 100% of the time, or more of a roller coaster life in which you experienced both euphoric highs and heartbreaking lows.” I didn’t call in with an answer of my own, but I’m pretty sure I know which end of the spectrum I’m on.
I couldn’t help but think of that question in relation to some of the adventurers I watched during Shark Week. These are people who—on the surface—seem to be perfectly reasonable human beings. But you put them on a boat and give them an oxygen tank and all of the sudden they’re willing to climb into a cage and be submerged into an ocean teeming with great white sharks wild in their feeding frenzies. Those individuals, I’m guessing, would choose the roller coaster life.
Also this week, it was announced that Mark Sutton, the stuntman who parachuted into the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics dressed as James Bond, died. He was killed when he jumped from a helicopter in a wingsuit and crashed into a mountain ridge. Whether it’s acting as shark bait in an underwater cage, or jumping from aircraft on a wing and a prayer, there are those among us who most definitely live for the thrill.
Personally, I’m both allergic to sharks and afraid of heights. That’s not to say, though, that I avoid adventure altogether. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to cross several exciting activities off of my bucket list. I’ve made memories ziplining and dog mushing and swimming with sting rays, among other things. These activities, to me, represent a healthy balance between couch potato and adrenaline junkie. I suppose one could argue that when it comes to living an adventurous life, the higher the risk the higher the reward. I don’t doubt that. I can only watch in amazement and wonder what it must feel like to surf the gnarliest waves or freefall from twelve thousand feet. Truth be told: I’m okay with that.
Back to the question the radio DJ posed. Would you rather live an even-keeled life in which you are perfectly content 100% of the time, or more of a roller coaster life in which you experience both euphoric highs and heartbreaking lows? Can you guess what my answer would be?
Count me in with the roller coaster riders. I may not be an extreme adrenaline junkie, but I most definitely crave excitement. I find it in the most unexpected places, too: in watching my seven-year-old learn new scooter tricks, in triumphing alongside my special needs daughter when she masters a new skill, and, yes, in oceans and on mountain tops and everywhere in between.
I believe that a life fully spent guarding against the risk of danger and heartbreak is wasted. With no risk comes no reward. Not that you’ll find me jumping from a plane anytime soon. There’s a happy medium, you see. I know because, well, I’m living in it.