“What is it that you plan to do with your one precious and wild life?”
I recently read a New York Times article about a young athlete that was killed while heli-skiing in Alaska. I felt a huge sense of loss for his parents, who are understandably demanding a lot of answering from the company their son was skiing with at the time of the tragedy. I felt torn, however when I learned the family was pushing for more government regulation on the heli-ski industry and extreme sports in general. Can we make dangerous sports safe with more laws? Do we even want to? The article hits so close to home as my husband, and the father of my children, is an extreme athlete, that takes risks like the one that sadly took this skiers life. I too, am a born risk taker.
Now that I’m a mother to two amazing humans however, my sense of mortality is real and at times completely overwhelming. But, despite my respect for the delicate nature of life, if there is one thing I want to instill in my children: We have to REALLY live while we’re alive.
There is just one last breath between living and dying, and we never know when we might inhale our last taste of life. For me the real tragedy are all the people that aren’t really living in the first place. Those stuck on the freeway twice a day going to a job they hate, so they can return home watch other people living life on their television, buy stuff they don’t need and head to bed so they can do it all over again tomorrow. Is planning two, MAYBE four weeks of vacation where you get to do what you actually WANT to do, worth all the chasing?
I think we each need to ask ourselves what is the legacy we want to leave behind when it’s all over. What will I be remembered for?
People die from obesity, diabetes, car accidents, drug overdoses, cancer, and the fortunate ones of old age. If you ask those that know they are dying about their regrets, most will tell you they wish they’d done more: loved more, risked more, LIVED more. There’s a great article with more on that topic here Top Five Regrets of Dying.
An old photo of my husband in Las Lenas, Argentina
But back to the question, “Is it worth the risk?”
Hell yeah it’s worth the risk. No matter how much we want to make the world a safe place, the fact is that we are all going to die someday. Am I a proponent to make the world as safe as we can? Absolutely. However I in no way support the government stepping in to tell me what is and is not safe for me and my family. I take full responsibility for weighing the factors at hand when I am engaging in some kind of dicey activity. It is terrible when we lose someone we love, and for a time life doesn’t even feel worth living. But mortality is exactly what does make life worth living. It is this realization that has me intentionally choosing how I spend each day, and thus have created this blog. I need that constant reminder that this is it.
My sincere condolences go out to the families involved with this loss. How lucky those men were however, that they spent their last days and moments doing exactly what they loved most. How many of us will be able to say we died by living our best possible life?
What risks do you take? Who is responsible when someone risks it all, and loses their life? Share your thoughts below in the comments!