Mind The Gap

   By Hakeemat,

I love the great outdoors and admire the all round American persona. Skiing in Aspen, scuba diving, bungee jumping, surfing on the Pacific, racing in Indianapolis, maybe even embarking on expeditions to the North Pole. Extreme sports remain a fantasy to me; there's most definitely a feeling of freedom that comes with these sports and a sense of I-can-do-anything-I-lay-my-heart-to. A sense of achievement. I admire Richard Branson and his ballooning trips, and I also dream of sailing round the world someday, maybe on a beautiful yacht though *cough*.

My mentally crafted bucket list has some ridiculous trips such as backpacking in China, looking for the lost tribes of Mongolia, visiting Siberia, dining with the aborigines in Australia and taking the most scenic pictures of these fantastic extremes. Also on my list are; pedaling a bike across a mountain range, perhaps riding the hilly MS-150 route from Houston to Texas or snowboarding in some back country and finally, wandering around the Amazon forest in search of some skin beautifying secrets. How I came up with this ridiculous list, heaven knows. As much as this would be a departure from my day to day life, I tell you, these remains mere fantasies- the African in me will not let me try even the most mundane of things. I am constantly playing safe, keeping safe and safeguarding my life. Anytime I start dreaming, I hear mother's voice screaming somewhere in the background and dad saying “we need you alive”.

Some activities beyond the ordinary automatically translate to death in our minds. Parents get very protective and we are really very mindful of ourselves too. I wonder how different life could be if only we explore ourselves to our fullest potentials. I sometimes even wonder if I could have been something radically different from what I am at the moment; an Olympian, a member of Cirque du Soleil or a sky diver or maybe the first formula 1 racer from Nigeria. My worry is that to what extent is our calm and unruffled life hampering what we possibly could be. Most people complain that they weren't opportuned, not enlightened, not educated, not rich, but in spite of all these, I think a lot of us might be missing so much more in life by not taking very bold steps, by not closing our eyes and jumping, by not taking that leap of faith.

How many of us are stuck in a rut, but cannot get out because we are unsure of the world out there? How many of us have had to compromise certain standards just to get ahead in the game and in life? Why not challenge the status quo and if you're swamped by it, then perhaps it was time to move on? Some of us need to be bold enough to ruffle some feathers. Inherent in legitimate struggles lies greatness. There was a story of a lady who was being chased by armed robbers, she got to a point and there was a fence which she scaled very quickly. After the armed robbers left and she was asked to scale the fence back and go home, she couldn't. At the face of danger, she jumped over this same fence effortlessly, but her ordinary self couldn't even attempt to jump any fence. The bottom line is that we never know our true self and our potentials until we are challenged or faced by adversity. Am deciding today, I wouldn't wait for adversity before trying something new. I am challenging my status quo. I am taking some bold risks. I refuse to keep playing safe. It's monotonous, boring and uneventful.

Even the Prophet (PBUH) fought his battles. He fought to entrench what he believed in. Nothing good comes easy. Nothing permanent has a fickle base. I make bold to say the entire Virgin brand and consequently empire was built on one man's adrenaline highs. He said “every risk is worth taking as long as it's for a good cause and contributes to a good life”. Today, I am confronting my fear; I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. What I do not accept is not trying at all. Fear is an illusion anyway. It hampers progress no doubt. Start writing that business plan, and if it is written already, and you believe in its potentials, activate it. Do not wait for the gigantic resources to execute, it hardly comes. You could make do with as little as you have. If it is to leave an unsatisfactory job and seek another, make that bold, fresh start. If it is to quit a present relationship or sticky situation, then go for it. Make that move that could probably make the world of difference in your life. No excuses, no worries, just iman all the way.

Our life is like a blank canvas, we largely determine what we paint on it. Start something new! I still crave the adrenaline junkie lifestyle, like riding the Simpsons at Universal Studios or doing the reverse bungee jumping. These are activities the normal me would probably shy away from, but sometimes its revealing exploring the road less traveled. I love life and perhaps its time to live it to the full. Right now, the train announcer keeps saying “mind the gap”. Another cautionary message. Huh.

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