The Rocking Chair Theory

Sometimes you see something and it sparks a whole chain of thought almost immediately…often it’s in things you don’t expect, and from places you wouldn’t have guessed – but despite this it feels central to your life in some way…as if it has always been a part of you, even if you hadn’t realized it before. I mean…if it wasn’t, why would you suddenly feel so strongly about it?

Safe Life

Anyway, that’s how I felt today when I stumbled across this photograph and caption on the Humans of New York Facebook page…

And no, settle down…it wasn’t because I saw the bit about STDs. It was just because I realized that despite also being quite a cautious person I am forever attempting to push myself free from those “hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t” shackles so that I can hopefully live a life well lived, rather than a one full of safe regret instead…

Mind I’m not calling this fella a square because he hasn’t ever had a battle with chlamydia…there’s every cause for congratulations in that respect – however it did sadden me that his words have such a final tone to them…even though I imagine his life is far from over…I mean, there’s still plenty of time for him to volunteer in Africa, develop a drinking problem, become addicted to crystal meth, and/or blow his  life savings on cocaine fueled hookers. So why the negativity? Stop wasting time, and get on with it! 

Seriously though…people often say things like: “that’s something to tell the grandchildren!” when they do something out of the ordinary, or have an experience that is half-way interesting…and I suppose it’s this miserable fear of sitting in a rocking chair at 80 years old with nothing interesting to say that motivates me to push on and fill my life’s tapestry with weird and wonderful stuff! You only get one life to live, and all that lark…right? And I don’t want my most thrilling tale to be something about how milk and eggs used to be a lot cheaper, “back in my day…” as I slurp on soup, and fill a plastic bag with pee…

With that said being a cautious person is not entirely a bad thing, and you certainly shouldn’t relinquish control completely, that could prove to be disastrous! In fact, it actually reminds me of a situation a few years back where I found myself cornered in a Sunderland bar in the early hours of the morning – you see a possibly (definitely) psychotic football hooligan had taken an interest in me and wouldn’t let me go…he was too engrossed in his life story, which included a penchant for stabbing police officers in the neck with broken plastic pens during riots – and a claim that he will never stop doing heroin because it is “too fucking great to stop”. And whilst I must concede his sounded like a very interesting life to live – this is perhaps not my suggestion with this rambled post.

I would in actual fact suggest a person can still live a wonderful life even without stabbings, and heroin. I know, a controversial view – but I’m somewhat of a radical I guess! 

All it takes is simply loosening your grip on the “what ifs?” every so often…letting your guard down to different experiences, and occasionally pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. After all it is here where true rocking chair memories are made…

So why not get started today?

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13 thoughts on “The Rocking Chair Theory

  1. Great post. The risks that can lead to an interesting life don’t have to be life-threatening, however. Since I’m a writer I’ll make my point from that angle – many, many writers don’t get past the idea or maybe the first draft stage of creating their book. Why? Because putting your stuff out there, where anyone can read it and express an opinion, is effing scary. It’s much safer to say you tried to write and it didn’t work out, or better yet, write in secret and tell no one. But you can’t attain critically acclaimed, literary greatness if you stuff your manuscript under your pillow.

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  2. I saw this post on the HONY page too and had a similar reaction… funny that I stumbled upon this post so shortly after that moment. Thanks for sharing your reaction to it… it’s important, I think, to remind ourselves a life of adventure is the best kind! 🙂

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  3. What gentle advice. And a reminder that by the time we regularly use a rocking chair, having “a life well lived instead of one full of safe regret instead”, might give us pause and perhaps choose something outside our comfort zone. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. John your a bad ass. I just started reading your blogs about a week ago and iv never been disappointed. i sit in a Real Estate office all day and in my spare time i log on and just read. Within minutes I’m apologizing to my coworkers for busting out laughing at random moments. Thank you for that!

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