There are certain things in life that are inherently risky. Not for the faint of heart. Riding motorcycles, rock climbing, scaling mountains, sky diving, cliff jumping, ski touring. Activities where the chances of death or injury are higher than say golfing or swimming laps at the local YMCA.
These things are not for everyone and if everyone was doing them they would lose the appeal they have but here are my arguments for why I do them or would do them and why you should consider doing scary things too (especially if you’re a woman):
Your Peers Are Doing It
We have all had our Mom knowingly ask us the question, “Well if everyone else was jumping off a bridge would you do it too?”
My Mom posed this question to me and I remember thinking…. “Uh, maybe!”
This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out on this… I mean I’d look over the edge and see how it all panned out and if they had all plummeted to their death, well, no! But if they were down there swimming around, pumped up and hollering, then hell yah!
If people I know are doing something and talking about how awesome it is and what a rush it is, of course I want to try it too! I hate being left out. I hate being a bystander, an onlooker, a watcher. I want to be a doer. I want to do the things. All of the things. Especially the things that are risky. Because often the things with the higher risk have a higher pay off!
And here’s the thing, women are conditioned from a young age not to take as many risks. We are conditioned to be passive and let men have all the fun. For a long time I would watch my male peers doing things that looked awesome and I believed those things were beyond my reach. Then I realized what complete bullshit that was and just started going for it and you know what? Life got a lot more interesting!
To Prove Something
Have you ever told someone that you wanted to go sky diving or climb to the top of a mountain only to have them snort and roll there eyes condescendingly or worse yet try to convince you not to? I have!!! And it sucks!
I think everyone has been there, but I think it’s especially common for women. I have experienced it many, many times. I am a small, feminine, woman who is constantly being underestimated. People look at me and make judgements on who I am and what I am capable of and it pisses me off. But being pissed off can be a powerful driving force. Be pissed off. Embrace the rage! Then get out there and jump out of a plane from 13 000 ft or whatever it is that gets you going. Because the feeling you get when you pull off something wild that someone said you couldn’t or shouldn’t do… Pure gold. It’ll make you feel on top of the world and it’ll make you realize that you are capable of almost anything if you can just overcome your fear.
The Adrenaline Rush
Adrenaline can be addictive! That feeling you get when your whole body is tense and focused and expectant and then you realize you’re still alive and you get that huge rush, like this incredible orgasmic release. (Yes, I just compared doing dangerous things to having an orgasm.)
Anyone who has experienced that feeling of turning hard on a motorcycle on a slick road or running to the edge of a cliff and jack knifing 100 m down into a freezing cold lake, will know what I’m talking about. It’s good. SOOOO good. Like you’re whole body becomes electric. And once you’ve had a taste of it there’s no going back. You will always be looking for your next hit.
Wanting to Feel Alive
Many of us spent a good majority of our day doing shit that we are not invested in, that is not directly relevant to our dreams and aspirations and that leave us feeling, exhausted and beaten down. We work at crummy professional jobs where we are a cog in a machine, where we never see the fruits of our labor and aren’t properly recognized for our contributions. Even if you like you’re job, it’s possible that the monotony of the daily grind wears you down and leaves you feeling sedate. Human beings are not meant to live like this. We are supposed to feel connected to the world around us we are supposed to feel like our actions are relevant to our life. Doing things were our actions are directly relevant to our immediate safety make us feel alive. In rock climbing if you don’t tie in to your harness correctly, having your hand slip could mean plummeting to the ground and breaking a limb. There is something satisfying about knowing that your actions are directly relevant to your life and safety.
You know when you meet that person that tells you about their climbing trip to Yosemite or surfing big waves in Hawaii and you are just blown away by how cool they are? You bask in their coolness and it gets you all pumped up and feeling good!
Have you ever been on the other side? Where you’re telling someone about the time that you climbed 7 hours up this gnarly treacherous mountain and had to straddle your way across a crux with cliffs plummeting down hundreds of meters on either side and then boot skied down a glacier on the descent? And they just gape in awe and get so stoked and ask you a bunch of questions? That feels gooood!
It feels good to do wild, risky stuff and then share it. It feels good to be inspired and inspire others to greater things. Especially as a woman! I know from experience how it feels to want to do things but not have the confidence to go after them. It has meant so much to me to have strong, fearless female role models demonstrating what is possible.