Living on the Edge
One of my favorite sayings is, “If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.” This is how I have felt about how I handle the work-end of my life. The “edge” being the edge of technology, the edge of social anything, the edge of trying or listening to anything new, and, ultimately, the edge of the future. I stand looking over a sheer drop and wonder how I will manage the balancing act and then, take the next step. I refuse to walk in the dark or step off blindly but it also makes no sense for me to stay away from the edge or close my eyes to possibilities.
Falling with Style
Remember the film Toy Story when Woody countered Buzz Lightyear’s flying exhibition with, “That’s not flying. That’s falling with style.” Well, surprisingly enough, I have never had a flying dream. Never. I am not sure exactly what that means, but perhaps it means I balance practicality too carefully. What I do often dream about is falling. Stepping off the edge of something as steep as an oceanside bluff or as seemingly minute as a curb. In either instance, the risk of falling is clearly evident as I stumble to regain footing but fail into a headlong plummet. Something rather odd though – I am rarely afraid in my dreams, I merely brace myself. And it is not me bracing myself for the fall, it is me “bracing for the landing.”
In my dreams, the landing never happens. I usually wake up or shift gears and alter the scene / sequence of my dreams. Those of you that have flying dreams, do you ever dream of the landing part? The part where you are standing on solid ground and the flying (in my case, falling) ended well.
Everything that has ever been discovered and tried, imagined and created, thought of and acted upon, must have started as a dream or a wish or an idea. That is what the edge represents to me. The dream. The quest. The landing.
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When we challenge ourselves, whether in our work or in our life outside of work, we risk change. If you would rather not change or grow, the best place to stay is away from the edge. When I hear of a tragic earthquake on the other side of my world, or a strategic bombing on the other side of my ideal, or a change in the wind in my own town, I seek more information and I evaluate those details and how they will affect my everyday life now – today, as well as my tomorrow. Technology allows for that personal research, as does my desire to know as much as possible.
View from the Edge
It isn’t easy, nor is it necessary for everyone, to step away from the edge, but for me, it is. It doesn’t mean I have any answers, for I certainly do not. It doesn’t mean that I am unafraid, for certainly I am. And while I have friends that can jump out of airplanes and not think twice or tie themselves to a giant slingshot or rubber band and not fear the landing. That is not me. I like the view from the edge, but I have a proven capability to wait just long enough for the edge to grow away from me and allow me to take another step. Courageous at the fall is not the same as fearlessly falling. Maybe I just need to learn to fly; I have falling with style down-pat.