What is risky behavior? What is it that drew me to do some things that I look back on with regret? What was the invitation that made me act without thinking or try to experience what I heard others talk about? What was the exhilaration that I held on to from listening without trying and being silent without experience until I could hold on no longer? What was it in me that needed to test and experiment while others could walk away or be satisfied by gaining additional information?
The news media, entertainment world, radio talk shows, and sports are full of tales that include recklessness and risky behavior. It has become normalized to exhaustion. Television is profiting from outlandish programming with stupid tag lines like “Do Not Try This on Your Own”. The popularity of this programming is adding to the hum of familiarity that drowns out the dangerous effects of impulsiveness, unhealthy habits and risky behavior.
I admit I tried walking on the wild side, testing the waters, playing with fire and stepping over the line. With each experience, I located an edge. It was not a place that I invited others to attempt with me or suggest them doing it on their own. My predisposition to independence and natural tantalizing curiosity provided a way for my life to become an assorted adventure without confining restrictions. I loved listening to adults whom I consider “old souls” teach through their stories. Yet, I found application difficult because my experiences taught me differently that convictions are hidden in shady, faded shadows of secrets.
I admit this is not all good. As a matter of fact, it can be very bad. I hurt myself in greater ways than others hurt me. In further review and examination, I learned how this way or that way are commonly inherited pathways. I learned how inter generational inheritance is real. Pain unfelt and avoided through methods of risky behavior and recklessness when misinterpreted as fun can be easily repeated. Habits are also formed due to this type of conformity and tradition.
I admit I was tempted into trying a taste, feeling the pinch, watching once or twice and thinking I was not affected. I deluded each attempt with the ideas of exploration, entertainment and no harm done. This is so untrue. It is a great lie. Fortunately, I recognized my steps were toward submersion prior to any swirl and flood of addiction or undetermined chaos. I never considered myself a groupie to any ideal, person or group. Instead, I learned to back up, turnaround, stop, put it down, spit it out, quit, or refuse politely then evaluate my journey.
I admit I missed the schooling about temptations and sin nature. I was not churched. I intentionally sought out faith-based organizations. Each time seeking an understanding for the yearning within me. I learned the familiarity of sin. I learned about those who did as I did, but got sucked into the whirlpool. I heard of their challenges and survival. I never felt like I belonged. Either my behavior wasn’t risky enough or my impulsiveness wasn’t odd enough or my unhealthy habits were explained away as common. Somehow I was justified though I knew I shouldn’t be.
Here’s what I figured out. Risky behavior is defined by other people, then honed by individuals. At some point, we need to venture down our own experiential path of life. We need to set and follow the same morals, standards and principles for ourselves and others.
In review, I did not have adequate guidance prior to setting out on my trail. Without assistance, I experienced enough to be dangerous, yet knew enough to change course. Testing boundaries and limitations is important when learning safety, precautions and becoming familiar with where “the line” is. Unfortunately, direction and instruction are the accepted teaching methods. Guidance, support, and mentoring are preferable ways that include meeting someone where they’re at and coming alongside them. This has long-term implications often unrecognized. In my experience, traditional teaching methods lost their effectiveness over time. Adults are experiential beings.
Please remember: good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Intentionality, tenacity and integrity emerge when lines are drawn and our edges are clarified. Sometimes our intent to overlook the possibilities and grab hold of our potential is a way to reject conformity, cast off misinterpretations and launch with experiential maturity. This is living. Things that are sought and things that are found eventually gather and integrate to unfold passion and purpose. What are you seeking? What lines do you see? What edges need clarification? Take care, my friend. Proceed conscientiously. Welcome a trusted companion because we were not created to walk alone.