2012 at 5am Posted by Rebecca Joines Schinsky
So, I did this last week:
It’s a selection from Fahrenheit 451, one of my all-time favorites, and the first book that really changed me.
‘Stuff your eyes with wonder,’ he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal.’
So, why this quote, and why now?
Well, I’m about to turn 30, and I’ve doing a lot of reflecting on what it means to be at this stage of life and what I’ve learned. I feel like I’ve figured some things out in the last couple years–the kinds of things that make a person feel like she has a little wisdom (just a little)–and one of those things is that nothing is certain, and that’s okay. In fact, it can be pretty rad.
Often, people who say things like, “there are no guarantees” do it with a hard-won cynicism, and issue it as a warning. It’s a “watch out, kid, it’s ugly out there.” This is not about that. In fact, it’s about the opposite.
This has been was the scariest, risk-taking-est year of my life in ways both personal and professional, but it has also been the most exciting and rewarding. I don’t think it’s an accident or a coincidence that things line up that way. This has been a year of leaping without a net, of consciously choosing endeavors with endpoints unknown. It has been terrifying; it has been exhilarating. And I’ve realized that you can choose to live in the fear and be miserable, or you can let the risk be its own reward. There ARE no guarantees, ever, and when you accept that as a truth of life, the unknown becomes a lot less scary because you know that no matter how much you might like to think you can control things, everything, really, is unknown.
So this tattoo, these words from the writer whose work is part of my DNA, is my celebration of lessons learned and wisdom gained, and my reminder to myself that the certainty I might be tempted to reach for sometimes doesn’t exist. It can’t be found. “There never was such an animal.” Why go looking for it when I could stuff my eyes with wonder instead?