I recently met Joy Tanksley through her post on Lance’s blog–check it out at http://www.jungleoflife.com/2010/04/29/four-surefire-strategies-for-getting-seriously-silly/ Her blog–Being Joy–is full of fun and creative ways to embrace the joy in your life. She is not afraid to be bold, to be different, to stand out, and I *love* that!!! I think I am all of that–bold, different, not afraid to stand out–but Joy inspires me to reach out even farther, and I will. I am honored to have her thoughts in this space.
The Three People You Meet on a Hot Air Balloon
By Joy Tanksley
I did it. I dropped the cash, took a day off work, and made it happen. I took flight in a hot air balloon on the peak day of the fall colors. I mean THE peak day. If I had waited just one more day, I would have missed seeing the fireworks of fall from 400 feet. If I had waited one more day, maybe, just maybe, I would have never had the same opportunity.
Among the others sharing this experience with me, I noticed three kinds of people:
- The Scared-to-Death Person:
My husband didn’t want to miss the opportunity to do this with me, but he was pretty freaked out about it. He spent a lot of time worrying in the days and hours before lift-off. But once we were up in the air, he saw there was nothing to be afraid of and had a wonderful experience. All that worrying for nothing! He robbed himself of the joy of pleasant anticipation. Fortunately he didn’t let his fears of the future keep him from following through. I wonder how many people looking at our balloon from the ground were wishing they had the courage, but were just too afraid to ever take a chance.
- The Waited-my-Whole-Life Person
Most people in our balloon fell into this category. They were 70+ and had always wanted to take a hot air balloon ride, but told themselves they didn’t have the money. Or the time. Or the nerve. So they had waited. Maybe they enjoyed the flight on a level that we younger folks couldn’t grasp. But more than one mentioned wishing they hadn’t waited so long. Not one said, “Make sure you wait your whole life for these special experiences. It makes ‘em better!” As the oldest gentleman in the crew struggled to get his body over the high-sided basket before the balloon took off, there was a moment where I held my breath, wondering if he would physically be able to get in the basket and go on the ride. I had to wonder if maybe he had waited too long. If he had waited one more day, if any of us had waited just one more day… well you never know.
- The Seize-the-Day Person
This was me! This hasn’t always been my personality type, but in the past year I’ve become quite the risk-taker. For most of my life, I made decisions based on what was safe and practical, only following my heart if it “made sense.” Now, I have a different concept of what makes sense.
Unlike my husband, the Scared-to-Death Person, I was able to enjoy each moment leading up to our take off. The anticipation was almost as good as the ride itself! I loved it all: scheduling the flight, waking up early, riding out to the launch site, and watching the balloon inflate. Letting go of fear – ditching the “what ifs” – makes sense to me now. Staying stuck in worries that will likely never come to pass seems downright nuts.
I also don’t think being a Waited-my-Whole-Life Person makes any sense. Why save the good stuff? This world is full of wonder and beauty. There’s no chance of running out of new experiences. I say you had better get started now if you want to experience even half of what this world has to offer. The fact is, not a single one of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Waiting is crazy! Downright dangerous.
So which kind of person are you choosing to be? Are you a Scared-to-Death type who is stuck squandering all the joys in life because you are afraid? Are you a Waited-my-Whole-Life type who is always waiting for the right moment – waiting until you have enough money or meet the right mate or get the right job – to start enjoying your life? Or are you the Seize-the-Day type? If you’re not, why not? The present moment is always the peak season of your life. So hop in the basket, take flight, and enjoy the view. What are you waiting for?
Insights on Joy from a Gal Named Joy: