Lately I’ve been confronted with this phrase: reckless abandon. I suppose it’s more of an idea really; an action even. I have spent most of my life avoiding things that would require ‘reckless abandon’, things that are overly zealous or driven by spontaneous emotion. It’s not that I’m not a passionate human being (in fact anyone who knows me well, probably would laugh out loud at that last sentence). It’s just that I like to think thoroughly about things before I act. I like to weigh my options and have a Plan B. I’ve always been taught ‘not to put all my eggs in one basket’ and to ‘step wisely’ into my decisions. Lately however, I’ve become convinced that there are certain things that absolutely require ‘reckless abandon’; that there are some instances where it is truly the only option (and you will be better because of it).
I’ve always viewed recklessness as exactly that: reckless (profound I know). Of which the literal definition is: utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution. Some people love to live like this, the thrill of everything, not thinking but a step ahead. As I’ve thought more about the idea of ‘reckless abandon’, the word reckless has shifted in context for me. Abandon is defined as: to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert. When you put these two things together, it equates to something like: to forsake completely, utterly unconcerned about the consequences. So, when I think about it in regards to myself, my actions, it represents the idea of caring so deeply and passionately about something, that you are willing to forsake yourself completely, despite the consequences that may come.
That’s pretty powerful.
Why then, do I not practice this more often? Why don’t we all? (because it’s scary as hell, that’s why). I’ve always viewed being reckless, the same way I view being foolish. That if you stopped to think for just one second, you would have made a better choice. I’m now convicted that the idea of ‘reckless abandon’ means to fall completely on hope; to throw yourself fully unto it. To act with complete anticipation of your desired outcome (which also means you are willing to assume any unpleasant consequences that may befall you as a result). To be afraid, and leap regardless. This notion doesn’t imply that you will fall, or you will miss; it just implies you could. No one would willingly leap if they thought they were more likely to fall than land. It means they think the risk of falling is worth what they stand to gain by leaping. Even if it’s just a 51% chance, there is still a greater belief in succeeding, than failing (that and the internal push that whispers or screams, “you have to try… you have to.”). Additionally, I believe what makes the act of ‘reckless abandon’ significant, is the scarcity in which you practice it. If we went around fully and completely throwing ourselves into everything, it would lose its very meaning. It would not be noble, it would not be grand; it would just be reckless. It requires an intentional choosing; a known sacrifice.
I hope this year reveals to me, the things in my life that will demand reckless abandon. Above that, I hope that I will respond accordingly. That even if I am afraid, I will leap regardless.