I was watching the live recording of Will Smith as he prepared to bungee jump out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. I kept saying out loud, “I’m nervous. Oh. My. God. Don’t do this! I don’t wanna watch! Wait, yes I do! He’ll be fine. Aah!” As time drew closer to him getting on the helicopter, he admitted he was feeling shaky. You could see a change in his posture and facial expressions. No more joking and laughing. The fear had hit him. He had so many opportunities to say “I don’t want to do this.” I found myself tearing up throughout because I completely understood all of the emotions he showed. At 50 years old, here is Will Smith in all of his dopeness, showing people how he faces his fears head-on. What if we all started doing this on a consistent basis with everything that comes our way? I’m sure this aging process would be more enjoyable and we’d have less regrets.
So many things were said throughout the recording that spoke to me but were purposed to instruct Will on how to jump. How often do you jump? Meaning, how often do you find yourself in a situation that brings fear, but instead of letting it take control, you attack it like a lion…raaawr?! At age 29, I flew on an airplane by myself for the first time. It was a big deal because I do not like flying and the fact that I went to a busy airport and boarded a flight alone was a conquered fear. Afterward, I remember saying to myself ‘hmm..that wasn’t so bad.” Similar words were said by Will as he dangled in the air while waiting to be lowered. He said ‘complete terror turned into pure bliss.” At age 30 I started a blog (those who have been keeping up with all of this know that) and it was the scariest thing for me to do. I kept talking myself out of it. Kept making excuses on why I shouldn’t start a blog. However, I realized I had talked and daydreamed about this idea for too long. The fear was trying to control me. To not act on it, would more than likely bring more pain. Regret.
Will’s purpose of conquering his fear was to show it who was in control. However, the point I want to make with you all today is the things we allow to stop us in our place and not act on, can later turn into ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.’ Regret is a big deal in aging. Erik Erikson’s, Integrity vs. Despair stage, talks about looking back on life and feeling satisfied or being filled with regrets. Whenever I hear someone say ‘I’m too old to be out here learning how to…blah blah…or doing..blah,” I get a little irked. I honestly feel like age is a contributing factor to why so many people don’t do what they want. Afraid of looking like a fool or failing. I’ve never seen a list of rules like this:
1. If you are over the age of 30 you can no longer make mistakes.
2. If you are over the age of the 40 you can no longer change your mind about what you want out of life.
3. If you are over the age of 50 you can no longer take risks.
4. If you are over the age of 60 you can no longer learn something new.
5. If you are 70 or older, just stop it. Die.
I’m sure you’ve never seen rules like those either because they DON’T EXIST. Society makes up those rules with myths that for some reason we have deemed them to be law. Conquering a fear has no age limit. It is not just specific to younger individuals who are living their ‘best life’ in their 20’s. It’s not an easy task either, so don’t get the impression that I’m saying conquering fear is a no-brainer. Fear is definitely a mind over matter type of thing, but it makes us better when we stand up to it. It’s like cloud nine. It’s legit that pure bliss Will was talking about. Age is a barrier that we place before us to convince ourselves it’s not that we are afraid but just too old. Let’s change how we think. If we are physically, mentally and emotionally able to do what it is we want to do, that is all that matters. Clichè line coming in 5,4,3..because guys, age ain’t nothin’ but a numba.
What amazes me is fear, for some reason disappears when we are told we have a few months to live. Have you ever noticed that? I was watching “The Bucket List” a few weeks ago. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson had both became ill and were given a certain amount of time to live. So they go out on this journey to check things off of their bucket list and nothing stopped them, not even fear. I mean why would fear stop them? They were dying. But, when you think about it, we are all going to die. I mean, duh. We may not have the specific timeframe that some people are given, but knowing that any day could be THE day should cause us to crank up and go on this journey of doing what it is we want to do…big or small.
Jump Far and Keep Looking Up
One of the instructions Will was given before getting on the helicopter was “if you don’t remember anything else, just remember to jump far and keep looking up.” I share that with you today, in hopes that all of the things inhibiting you from truly enjoying life will no longer be the case. Jump far and look up, remembering there is no limit. As I typed all of this to you all, it was really for me, but I like to share. Fear is a bunch of explicit words that I don’t wish to include in this post. It’s something I plan to no longer let control my life. From here on out I’m jumping…who’s with me?
Find the link to Will Smith’s jump here.
“Just commit and don’t think about anything else.” -Willard Carroll Smith Jr.
“What would you do, you knew you couldn’t fail? I have no fear in anything, I do everything well.” -Jay Z