From the nature of my posts before my absence, you might have guessed that I’ve spent the last few weeks doing exactly what I had set out to do – live my life to its fullest. And through all the experiences I’ve had over the last little while, I’ve realised important things not only about myself (physically, emotionally, spiritually), but also about my attitude to life. And, most importantly, I’ve realised that fear, the way I’ve always envisioned it (as that sneaky little thing that keeps us hidden and cooped up and preventing life), really is a lie. F-E-A-R is often seen as an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. I, however, would like to see it as meaning something else.
F for Freedom.
So, what is this freedom? Freedom from expectations and freedom from fear, sure, but, more importantly, freedom in movement. I greatly admire the ladies and gents of this world practising parkour, a unique freedom of movement art form that, for me, epitomises what the human body is capable of. If you’re not familiar with parkour, I’d encourage you to watch some YouTube videos – a great place to start is with a dear friend of mine, Deville Vannik, whose stunt reels always inspire me. Check them out:
Now, I certainly haven’t spent the last few weeks becoming a master in parkour. There’s a level of freedom in that sport that I just haven’t quite mastered yet, and I have made peace with the fact that perhaps I never will. But I can find that freedom through other ventures. Rollerblading, apparently a dying form of movement, is still pretty cool in my book. And I’ve spent a good deal of time rollerblading up and down the Sea Point Promenade, during the golden hour of sunset when everyone’s out and about, and during the night when everything’s dark and silent. I prefer the night time – nothing but me, my skates, and the fluid motion of cruising down the street. That’s freedom. I’ve also begun learning how to skateboard, and though it’s still a little difficult for me, I’m hoping to one day accomplish that freedom I see skateboarders have when on their boards. And then, of course, there’s the ocean, which has become one of my greatest passions this year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times more – there’s something so magical about being in the water, letting the waves carry you, and just disappearing from the world for a while. That’s freedom.
E for Experience.
Freedom of movement is one form of experience, yes, but experiences go far beyond that. Life has so much to offer us, be it food or entertainment or human interaction. And so I’ve been trying to up those experiences, going to the cinema whenever I have the chance, watching theatre shows and other live performances whenever the opportunity presents itself, and eating out as much as I can (perhaps I should add ‘afford’, but I’ve come to believe that spending money for the sake of living life is never wasted). And so I’ve spent a good deal of time at Cape Town’s top restaurants – Savoy Cabbage, Beluga, Mezepoli, and, my personal favourite and the one I’d recommend, NV-80. And what I’ve learned is that this supposed ‘best’ food isn’t always necessary. Yes, I’ve had numerous three-hour meals at NV-80 and I’d have a serious eat/sleep/repeat relationship with that place, but sometimes take-away pizza munched on the beach or McDonald’s after a two-hour skate at midnight are the way to go. So try it all. And then decide. Because nothing beats experience.
A for Adventure.
My life is never boring. Yes, I’m blessed in working as a freelancer, which gives me tons of free time to explore the world, but adventure is also something that has to be worked at. And it can take so many different forms. I often find that finances can be quite limiting – “I can’t afford that holiday to Mauritius or going bungee jumping; therefore, I can’t afford adventure in my life”. Nonsense. Perhaps it’s pure luck that Cape Town is a city blessed with a world of opportunities for adventure, but I certainly believe those opportunities exist everywhere. So I climbed Table Mountain. And I went hiking in the mist and imagined dragons and warriors and foreign kingdoms (perhaps I watch too many movies, but they make me happy so I’m okay with that). And I went on road trips to isolated beaches and stumbled upon sand dunes and antelope. And even sitting on the bus for three hours to get a DVD can be an adventure. Adventure really is everywhere; it just needs to be found. So stop worrying about time and money and being productive and just do it all. You only have this one shot. So be adventurous.
R for Reality.
Perhaps this is the one thing I still struggle with, this concept of reality and the ‘real’ world. For some reason I feel that the world is trying to tell me that I’m living a dream, that being this free and open and happy can’t last, that I ought to settle down in a fulltime job and spend my time worrying about who-knows-what and just be normal. But I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe that freedom, experience, and adventure can be reality, that they are reality. And all one has to do is make a simple shift to include them on a regular basis. The ‘should haves’ and ‘would haves’ and ‘could haves’ of this world, those pressures we feel that such joy is childish, are made up, constructs of the collective mind, and ultimately irrelevant. We make our own reality. So make it count.